“Back to Work NJ”

COVID-19 Recovery Proposal for State Business Re-Openings

The COVID-19 coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on New Jersey, devastating not only the physical and mental health well-being of our State, but also its entire economy. It has weighed heavily on our job markets including almost all businesses especially small businesses, their owners, and employees.

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While aggressive response was necessary to get the outbreak under control in the beginning, the time has come to have a serious discussion on how we reopen the economy and put New Jerseyans back to work.  

This can be accomplished safely and effectively by implementing the guidelines proposed by medical professionals and experts in both the economic and epidemiology fields.  The following recommendations will allow individual business owners to begin operating again (at a pace of their own choosing) through utilizing common-sense precautions and put people back to work all the while ensuring we protect our most vulnerable populations. 

Time is of the essence, and further delay only increases irreparable harm to the economy, livelihoods, and general well-being of New Jerseyans across the state.

 

Gerry P. Scharfenberger, PhD.

Assemblyman

13th Legislative District of New Jersey

 

Back to Work NJ

 

There are two measures of great concern when trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) The health and safety of New Jerseyans; & 2) The economic well-being of residents & small businesses.

 

As we have begun to “flatten the curve” and trajectory of the virus’ impact on the Garden State. We must now begin to calculate safe re-opening protocols not only so we can allow our small business community and residents struggling under the weight of financial hardship the ability to recapture their financial foundations, but do so in a protective manner for them, employees, and New Jerseyans everywhere.

 

Below are a set of protocols for various business separated into two phases. The business fields include, but are not limited to:

 

Restaurants and Food Service Industries; Ride Share Services; Personal Care Businesses; Gyms and Physical Fitness Facilities; Bars and Alcohol Service Industries; Physical Training Services; Retail and Small Shop Merchants; Boating and Fishing Industries; Construction Industries; Car Dealerships; Houses of Worships; Etc.

 

Analysis Period:

- Analyze and incorporate data-driven matrix which utilizes both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the current COVID-19 effect on the health of the New Jersey’s general public.

o These should be accountable figures, free from interpretation of political motive and agenda implementation opportunities.

o Allow leaders in the medical, healthcare, and business communities to provide an unbiased and realistic review of the circumstances facing New Jersey.

▪ This would allow for a cost-benefit analysis as to how and when New Jersey should begin re-opening measures free from interference.

- Create impact projections for New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations which includes impact on both physical & financial well-being.

o Examples of vulnerable populations include, but are not limited to:

▪ Senior Citizens

▪ Residents within long-term & medical rehabilitation facilities

▪ Veterans within care & housing facilities 

▪ Higher At-risk residents who are likely to be negatively impacted from increased exposure to any medical intrusions

- Create impact projections for New Jersey’s businesses as well as economic impacts on varying income levels. 

- Formulate a “quick response guideline” in the case of large contamination/outbreak of virus.

o This would include measures to safely and comfortably quarantine exposed individuals for the duration of viral incubation period and/or life of viral infection.

- Incorporate mass COVID-19 testing as well as the Anti-body testing proposed by Assemblyman Ned Thomson (LD 30), A-4021, for New Jersey residents.

o Analysis and mass testing time capabilities must not be an obstacle to begin re-opening measures; however, should coincide.

▪ Operations that can already re-open safely should begin while awaiting mass testing availability to reduce longevity of economic recovery & to allow businesses the ability to implement social distancing & safety measures.

 

Phase I:

 

- Restaurants, Cafés & Other Food Service Locations:

o Continue utilizing curbside pick-up, delivery, and general pick-up of food orders

▪ Alcoholic beverages:

• For locations that hold a liquor license and serve food, they would be allowed to sell closed container alcoholic beverages to accompany food orders.

• Any beverages sold, must be sealed and customers must still abide by New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage transportation laws and regulations.

o Restaurants and Food Service Locations which can accommodate outdoor seating would be allowed the opportunity to do so.

▪ Outdoor seating must abide by social distancing guidelines set by the State as well as County and Municipality to which they are located.

• These locations must also not go above 25% of their max indoor seating capacity when offering outdoor seating to patrons. 

▪ Indoor seating accommodations must adhere to social distancing guidelines set by the State as well as County and Municipality to which they are located. 

• Indoor seating accommodations will be granted once the State conducts mass testing or offers further safety guidance.   

• These locations must review their square indoor footage utilized for customers/patrons.

o Based upon total footage, the numbers of customer/patron tables would be allocated in accordance with social distancing guidelines; or

o Restaurants must limit their indoor customer/patron number to no more than 25% of normal capacity to allow for adherence to social distancing guidelines.

o All staff must continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering while working, including wait staff, chefs, bus attendants, bartenders, barbacks, runners, host staff, etc. 

o All staff would need temperature taken before and after shift to prevent any possible exposure to co-workers and customers/patrons.

o Locations must be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial products during the midday point of operational hours and after the business closes.

▪ Bathrooms must be cleaned quarterly during operational hours. Ex: If location is operating from 8am-8pm, bathrooms should be cleaned every 3 hours.

o Mobile food vendors and trucks can be allowed to operate as long as customers/patrons awaiting service are still being asked to social distance and mobile field service staff wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

 

- Breweries and Micro Distilleries

o Can continue utilizing curbside pick-up, delivery, and general in-person purchases of beverage orders.

▪ For those businesses which sell hard alcoholic beverages, they would be allowed to sell sealed closed container alcoholic beverages for either curbside pick-up, delivery, or limited in-person purchases.

▪ Any beverages sold must be sealed and customers must still abide by New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage transportation laws and regulations.

o For those breweries and distilleries which offer outdoor seating.

▪ Seating can take place; however, the number of customers/patrons should be limited to no more than 25% of normal capacity to allow for adherence to social distancing guidelines.

 

- Small Business Shops, Stores, Retails & SimilarMerchant Locations Originally Deemed “Non-Essential”:

o These include, but are not limited to: Flower Shops; Jewelry Stores; Hobby Stores; Recreational Supply Stores; Boating Supply Stores; Outdoor Sporting Stores; Small Goods Shops; etc.

o Businesses originally deemed non-essential, but can operate on through delivery, curbside pick-up, and/or appointment basis to limit exposure would be allowed to do so immediately.

▪ Businesses which fall under this would be limited to no more than 30% of their max indoor customer/patron capacity at any given time and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

▪ Store staff and customers/patrons must continue to wear mask or an appropriate face covering while working or visiting locations. 

▪ All staff would need temperature taken before and after shift to prevent any possible exposure to co-workers and customers/patrons.

▪ Stores must be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial products during the midday point of operational hours and after the business closes. 

• Bathroom use would be prohibited by the general public barring extenuating circumstances.

 

- Construction Halted and Originally Deemed “Non-Essential”:

o All remaining construction initially deemed non-essential and halted, would be allowed to begin operations again.

▪ However, construction crews/employees must adhere to social distancing guidelines as much as possible when it is not necessary to work in close quarters while on a project/job site.

▪ Crews/employees must continue to wear mask or an appropriate face covering while on the project/job sites and especially during times when social distancing guidelines cannot be adhered to during work. 

o All crews/employees would need temperature taken before and after shift to prevent any possible exposure to co-workers and customers/patrons for any indoor projects.

 

- Outdoor Recreational & Commercial Fishing Businesses:

o Outdoor Recreational Businesses include, but are not limited to: Fishing; Open Air Boating; Open Air Boating Charters; Jet Skiing; Commercial Fishing; etc.

o Recreational Boating:

▪ All crews, staff, and passengers will continue to wear masks or appropriate face covering. 

▪ All crews and passengers would need temperature taken before and after voyage to prevent any possible exposure.

▪ All crews, staff, and passengers would need temperature taken before and after shift to prevent any possible exposure.

▪ Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to and strictly enforced by the boat Captains and crews.

▪ Bathrooms and all common/shared hard surfaces would be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each use as well as after final port anchoring for ship(s).

▪ A list of all passengers and their phone numbers must be kept for each trip to aid in contact tracing should exposure occur.

• Passenger count shall be decreased. A square footage formula per boat to be used similar to that of food service/restaurants; or

• Boats should not exceed 50% of their normal passenger capacity.

o Small Commercial Fishing Boats:

▪ All crews will continue to wear masks or appropriate face covering. 

▪ All crews would need temperature taken before and after voyage to prevent any possible exposure.

▪ Bathrooms and all common/shared hard surfaces would be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each use as well as after final port anchoring for ship(s).

 

- Hospitals and Medical Service Offices:

o Hospital Systems and Medical Service Offices (Chiropractic, Weight Management, etc.) will be allowed to begin in-person doctor visits and consultations when needed. 

▪ Medical staff and patients will be required to wear masks or appropriate face coverings while in the office and common rooms. 

• Patient waiting rooms should be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products periodically – this includes public/common waiting rooms and bathrooms.

▪ Staff and patients must check temperature and log in-person patients for contact tracing purposes should an exposure incident occur.

• Medical staff should have a list of pre-appointment questions answered by patients that would help to indicate possible exposure or illness before coming to office(s).

▪ Elective surgeries can begin with appropriate precautionary measures implemented. 

• In situations when elective surgeries are not “same day” and would require a stay within a medical facility and/or hospital – patients should consult with their physicians to seek further postponement until exposure to COVID-19 post operation can be limited greatly.

 

- Public Transportation:

o Public Transportation should be limited to allow for adherence of social distancing guidelines.

o Trains should be sprayed with disinfecting solution by staff after each route run completion with an accurate time log of cleaning(s).

▪ Passengers and staff will continue to wear masks or appropriate face covering while on board.

▪ Bathrooms and common areas should be cleaned every two-three hours to prevent possible exposure. 

o Buses shall be sprayed by driver or appropriate staff after the completion of each route with an accurate time log of cleaning(s).

 

 

- Sporting Events/Horseracing and Theater/Concert Venues

- Horseracing and Tracks

o Staff and customers/patrons will continue to wear masks or an appropriate face covering.

o Staff must have temperature checked as well as log employees for contact tracing purposes should an exposure incident occur.

o The total number of tickets for attendance should be kept below 50% of normal capacity.

▪ Indoor attendance should be limited to small groups for private viewing boxes to adhere to social distancing guidelines; however, outdoor seating should be heavily encouraged.

▪ Outdoor seating shall be accommodated; however, customers/patrons are to be asked to remain separated if not with someone from the same household.

• Seating should be kept to the same social distancing guidelines.

o Track gambling can continue

▪ Customers/patrons should be encouraged to use mobile apps to place bets rather than see a cashier/bet attendant.

▪ Self-serve betting machine usage should also be encouraged and would need to be cleaned/sterilized between each race with disinfecting solution.

▪ Bathrooms and all common/shared hard surfaces would be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each use as well.

• The number of outdoor picnicking locations should be reduced to limit exposure or removed until a later date.

 

- Sporting Events

o Staff and customers/patrons will continue to wear masks or an appropriate face covering.

o Staff must have temperature checked as well as log employees for contact tracing purposes should an exposure incident occur.

▪ If an indoor sporting event, temperatures of customers/patrons must be taken for the same purposes.

o Outdoor seating shall be accommodated; however, customers/patrons are to be asked to remain separated if not with someone from the same household.

o Indoor attendance shall remain limited to 30%-50% of the event location depending on size of arena.

▪ Customers/patrons are to be asked to remain separated if not with someone from the same household.

- Theater/Concert Venues:

o Outdoor concerts and theatrical shows would be allowed to take place. 

▪ Venue staff must continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering. Customers/patrons would be asked to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering as much as possible.

• Staff would also be required to have their temperature taken to limit possible exposure before performances. 

▪ Food and alcoholic (if available) can be served; however, social distancing requirements must be adhered to in waiting lines.

▪ Tables and common seating areas would need to be sanitized regularly or removed before performances. 

▪ Seating must be staggered to ensure social distancing is maintained.

• If lawn seating is permitted, venue staff must ensure social distancing is adhered to by individuals and small groups.

• Seats, bathrooms, and shared common surfaces must be sanitized with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each performance.

o Indoor concerts and theatrical shows would be allowed to take place; however, capacity should be reduced to at least 50% of normal limits.

▪ Seating arrangements must be reduced to allow for social distancing adherence whether that would entail removal of rows/seats and/or leaving seating open between groups and individuals.

▪ For indoor performances, venue staff and customers/patrons must continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

• Staff would also be required to have their temperature taken to limit possible exposure before performances. 

▪ Food and alcoholic (if available) can be served; however, social distancing requirements must be adhered to in waiting lines.

▪ Tables and common seating areas would need to be sanitized regularly or removed before performances. 

• Seats, bathrooms, and shared common surfaces must be sanitized with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each performance.

- Houses of Worship including, but not limited to Churches, Temples, and Mosques:

- Parishioners and religious service leaders should continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

o Temperature of religious service leaders should be taken before services open.

o Outdoor Services

▪ Congregants could stay inside vehicles parked six feet apart.

▪ Communication between the celebrant and worshippers could be conducted through an exterior PA system or vehicle radios/phones.

o Indoor Services

▪ Standard social distancing of six feet apart between unrelated congregants.

▪ Alternating benches/pews/floor spaces should be in place to maintain proper distancing.

▪ Communal drink, food, or other ritual accoutrements should be suspended in favor of individualized portions during services.

▪ Hand sanitizer should be made available at close intervals within the religious structure.

▪ Directional arrows should be placed within the building to ensure singular movement of worshippers.

▪ Pews, seats, shared common surfaces, etc. must be cleaned/sterilized with a virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products after each service.

 

- Car Dealerships and Similar Transportation Suppliers:

- Employees and customers/patrons must continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

o Temperature of employees must be taken before servicing customers/patrons.

o Businesses must keep a log of customers/patrons for contact tracing should possible exposure occur.

- Business should be conducted on an appointment basis to limit public exposure.

o Test driving of vehicles should be greatly limited.

▪ If test driving occurs, employees must sanitize vehicles after each use by a customer/patron.

o All shared common surfaces must be cleaned following each appointment with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase II:

 

- Gyms and Physical Fitness Locations:

o Staff and customers/patrons will continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering as well as hand gloves.

o Temperature of both staff and customers/patrons should be taken prior to engaging in exercise activities.

o These locations should reduce overall capacity within their businesses at any given point.

▪ Gyms and Physical Fitness businesses should consider a staggering appointment model which would offer appointment time slots for customers/patrons with a maximum capacity number so to limit the number of people within their business at any given time and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

• The overall number could vary depending on physical size of the business’ location.

• Consideration of appointment times to be limited to 1 hour to 1 & ½ hours. 

• Customers/patrons would be required to wipe down workout equipment immediately following use and before moving to other equipment.

▪ These businesses should leave 15 minutes or another appropriate time-break between appointment times to allow for disinfecting of shared services and workout equipment before next and/or incoming customers/patrons begin.

▪ These businesses would be required to keep a log of customers/patrons with contact information which could be utilized for contact tracing should COVID-19 exposure occur. 

 

- Ride Share Services:

o Riding sharing services can begin; however, both drivers and customers/patrons would continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering. 

▪ When possible, vehicles should include a transparent barrier between driver and customer.

▪ Vehicles will be required to be disinfected with a virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning product after the completion of each route.

• Drivers would be asked to keep a log of the customer/patron’s name and phone number for contact tracing should COVID-19 exposure occur. 

 

- Dance, Physical Coaching, Training Activities, Etc.:

o Staff and customers/patrons must continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

▪ When direct physical contact is to occur, staff and customers/patrons must wear hand gloves to limit contact.

o Services must be conducted on an appointment basis to limit the overall capacity within a physical location. ​

▪ Staff should have a list of pre-appointment questions answered by customers/patrons that would help to indicate possible exposure or illness.

▪ Temperature of staff should be taken before operating hours and customers/patrons should have taken before undertaking physical activities.

▪ Customer/patron logs would be maintained for contact tracing should exposure to COVID-19 occur.

o Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to as much as possible between and during sessions when appropriate.

o Any equipment or common shared surfaces must be cleaned with a virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning product between uses.

 

- Bars, Wineries, and Non-Food Offering Alcoholic Businesses:

o Staff would continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

o Those locations that contain a liquor license and can safely utilize curbside pick-up, can begin to do so.

▪ Locations would be allowed to sell closed container alcoholic beverages.

▪ Any beverages sold, must be sealed and customers must still abide by New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage transportation laws and regulations.

▪ Consideration should also be given by the State as to whether to allow these businesses the opportunity to deliver sealed goods while adhering to alcoholic beverage laws and regulations including age verification of customers/patrons.

o Locations which can accommodate outdoor seating would be allowed the opportunity to do so.

▪ Outdoor seating must adhere to social distancing guidelines set by the State, as well as County and Municipality to which they are located.

▪ These locations must not go above 50% of their max indoor seating capacity when offering outdoor seating to patrons. 

▪ Tables and shared common services must be cleaned with a virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning product in between customer/patron usage.

o Indoor seating accommodations will be granted oncethe State conducts mass testing or offers further safety guidance.  

 

- Hair Salons, Nail Salons, Barbershops, and Self Care Businesses:

o Staff and customers/patrons would be required to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

▪ Staff with direct physical contact should also wear hand gloves which are changed immediately after interacting with a customer and before interacting with following customers.

▪ Temperature of staff and customers should be taken to limit exposure.

▪ A customer/patron log would be maintained complete with contact information for contact tracing should exposure to COVID-19 occur.

o These businesses should operate by appointment only to limit overall capacity within physical locations at any given time. 

o Equipment (scissors, chairs, tables, etc.) must be cleaned with virus limiting/antibacterial cleaning products between each customer/patron use. 

▪ This includes shared common surfaces and waiting/bathrooms.

o Equipment and products which can be substituted for “single-use” products (hair smocks, aprons, etc.) should be substituted as much as possible to limit exposure. 

▪ Staff should wear face shield or protective eyewear as much as possible since they are in direct contact with customers/patrons. 

 

- General Offices and Office Based Businesses:

o Staff and employees would continue to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering.

o Consideration should be given to rotating workweeks or rotating in-person daily work hours/days supplemented with tele-commute and work-from-home capabilities whenever possible. 

▪ This would aid in limiting overall exposure, but also lower possibilities of work stoppages