Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed an executive order that will mandate masks, temperature checks, social distancing and other protections in public and private-sector workplaces.

Murphy said he was taking these steps because the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration has not enacted COVID-19 safety standards.

The order also requires the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to support the state Department of Health’s efforts to address worker complaints from their employers.

The Labor Department will establish an intake form on its website starting late next week to receive complaints and develop an investigation and inspection protocol to review complaints, and even shut non-complainant businesses that refuse to cooperate.

The Labor Department will establish a training program to inform workers of their rights and to encourage employer compliance.

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Starting Nov. 5, workplaces will be required to:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Ensure employees and visitors wear face coverings when entering the worksite.
  • Provide sanitization materials to employees and visitors at no cost.
  • Ensure that employees are able to wash their hands.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas.
  • Conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists before each shift.
  • Keep sick workers out of the workplace.
  • Promptly notify employees of exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.

Murphy said when we talk about our essential workers we often think of those we see every day on the front lines, including healthcare workers, first responders and supermarket employees.

“We salute them but we must also recognize the thousands of factory and warehouse workers, laundry workers, janitors and custodians among others, who have been just as important in moving our state forward," he said.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association criticized Murphy for issuing new mandates without "balance," which increases the cost of doing business in the state.

"We only heard about applying more financial burdens on the same job creators who simultaneously have many of the greatest capacity restrictions in the nation," Michele Siekerka said.

“Further, most businesses already have protective safeguards in place and are critically concerned about safeguarding their workforce and their workplaces. Mechanisms already exist to call out bad actors and hold them accountable. There is no need to now mandate additional costs on the good actors through unnecessary policy."

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