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COVID-19 Workplace Requirements and Funding

Learn about funding opportunities and how to operate your workplace safely in the era of COVID-19.

All new state contracted workers, workers in certain state and private health care facilities, and high-risk congregate settings in New Jersey will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times per week. Learn more about the requirements.

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Social Distancing and Masking

Social distancing and masking is not required in most indoor or outdoor spaces, and there are no capacity limits for businesses or worksites open to the public.

Businesses have the right to require stricter mask policies, but businesses are not allowed to restrict the use of face masks by their staff, customers, or visitors. Municipalities and counties are also permitted to impose stricter requirements on masking in businesses open to the public.

New Jersey is strongly encouraging both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask and social distance in indoor settings where there is increased risk, including:

  • Crowded indoor settings
  • Indoor settings involving activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated
  • Indoor settings where the vaccine status of other individuals in the setting is unknown
  • Where an individual is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease

Social distancing, masking, and other safety measures are still required in high-risk areas such as healthcare settings, public transportation, child care centers, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

In addition, the majority of State offices open to the public, including New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations, continue to require masking of staff and visitors. Individuals should review setting-specific requirements in advance of arrival.

Health and Safety Recommendations for Businesses

The NJ Department of Health has issued industry-specific health and safety recommendations for:

General public health and safety recommendations to help businesses protect employees and customers:

  • Businesses are encouraged to follow CDC safety guidelines and social distancing to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Masks are not required for most indoor workplaces, however businesses should encourage unvaccinated employees, customers, and guests to wear masks.
  • If masks or gloves are required by employers, businesses are encouraged to provide them to employees
  • Businesses are encouraged to provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals
  • Employees should practice hand hygiene and employers should provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch areas is encouraged in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines
  • Prior to each shift, employers are encouraged to conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance
  • Employers are encouraged to keep sick employees from entering the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Employers should promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite

For more safety tips, refer to the CDC's COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

Worker Protections

Under legislation signed by Governor Murphy on June 4, 2021, the majority of Executive Orders issued pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expired on July 4, 2021. This included Executive Order 192, which provided many COVID-19 worker rights and protections.

However, certain federal COVID-19 worker rights and protections are in place for specific occupations and industries, such as healthcare workers and medical facilities. Learn more and stay up to date by visiting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 website: osha.gov/coronavirus.

Under federal OSHA law, employers must protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause illness or injury, provide required personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure its use. It's also against New Jersey Wage and Hour law for an employer to deduct the cost of protective equipment from an employee's pay.

When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

New Jersey does not have any COVID-19-specific policies regarding sick leave or job security for private employers. Businesses must abide by existing sick leave and job protection laws.

Employer Requirements when Employees Contract COVID-19

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly suggests that employers instruct any workers who are known to be infected with COVID-19, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work.

State COVID-19 Financial Assistance Programs

Small Business Improvement Grant

The Small Business Improvement Grant reimburses eligible small businesses and nonprofits for up to 50% of eligible project costs associated with building improvements or the purchase and/or installation of new furniture, fixtures, and equipment made on or after March 9th, 2020. The maximum grant award is $50,000. Applications are first-come-first-served.

Apply Now

Small Business Lease Grant

The Small Business Lease Grant supports the growth and success of small businesses and non-profits by providing grant funding to cover a portion of lease payments for businesses and non-profits leasing new or additional space. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning Wednesday, October 20th, 2021.

  • Benefits: Two grant awards of 20% of the total annual lease payment.
  • Eligibility: Small businesses and nonprofits entering a new lease, lease amendment, or lease extension for at least a five-year term that includes at least 250 square feet of street-level space.

Apply Now

Traditional NJEDA Programs

In addition to the programs listed on this page, the NJEDA encourages businesses to explore the Authority’s business support programs that are not specific to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. More details about these programs can be found on the NJEDA’s website at www.njeda.com.

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