As previously reported, yesterday, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #122 that directs all non essential construction activity to cease indefinitely by 8:00 pm on Friday, April 10th.
The following is a more in- depth overview of EO 122 as it relates to the hombuilding industry, including information on requirements for essential construction and general requirements for certain businesses that maintain permissible in person operations. NJBA appreciates that there are instances where the language in the EO may be vague or unclear. In the absence of further guidance from the Governor’s Office and Administrative Agencies, we urge all members to consult with their attorneys if they are questioning how the EO may or may not apply to them.
What is Considered Essential Construction?
Paragraph 2. of EO 122 directly prohibits non essential construction activity and specifically defines “essential construction projects”. NJBA fought diligently to ensure, at a minimum, projects with already contracted closings would continue and that is provided for in the EO, as well as other NJBA requested exclusions. “Essential construction projects” shall be defined as the following:
- d. Residential projects that are exclusively designated as affordable housing;
- f. Projects already underway involving individual single-family homes, or an individual apartment unit where an individual already resides, with a construction crew of 5 or fewer individuals. This includes additions to single-family homes such as solar panels;
- g. Projects already underway involving a residential unit for which a tenant or buyer has already entered into a legally binding agreement to occupy the unit by a certain date, and construction is necessary to ensure the unit’s availability by that date;
- m. Any work on a non-essential construction project that is required to physically secure the site of the project, ensure the structural integrity of any buildings on the site, abate any hazards that would exist on the site if the construction were to remain in its current condition, remediate a site, or otherwise ensure that the site and any buildings therein are appropriately protected and safe during the suspension of the project;
- n. Any emergency repairs necessary to ensure the health and safety of residents.
What are the Requirements for Essential Construction?
For any construction that is considered essential per paragraph 2, key policies will need to be enacted per paragraphs 3 and 4 of the EO which deal with worker safety. Per paragraph 3, essential construction businesses will need to:
- a. Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the worksite;
- b. Limit worksite meetings, inductions, and workgroups to groups of fewer than ten individuals;
- c. Require individuals to maintain six feet or more distance between them wherever possible;
- d. Stagger work start and stop times where practicable to limit the number of individuals entering and leaving the worksite concurrently;
- e. Stagger lunch breaks and work times where practicable to enable operations to safely continue while utilizing the least number of individuals possible at the site;
- f. Restrict the number of individuals who can access common areas, such as restrooms and breakrooms, concurrently;
- g. Require workers and visitors to wear cloth face coverings, in accordance with CDC recommendations, while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or the individual is under two years of age, and require workers to wear gloves while on the premises. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for their employees. If a visitor refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, then the business must decline entry to the individual. Nothing in the stated policy should prevent workers or visitors from wearing a surgical-grade mask or other more protective face covering if the individual is already in possession of such equipment, or if the businesses is otherwise required to provide such worker with more protective equipment due to the nature of the work involved. Where an individual declines to wear a face covering on the premises due to a medical condition that inhibits such usage, neither the business nor its staff shall require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition;
- h. Require infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;
- i. Limit sharing of tools, equipment, and machinery;
- j. Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, to workers and visitors; and
- k. Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, breakrooms, equipment, and machinery.
Per paragraph 4:
- a. Immediately separate and send home workers who appear to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 illness upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day;
- b. Promptly notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite, consistent with the confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and any other applicable laws;
- c. Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when a worker at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness; and
- d. Continue to follow guidelines and directives issued by the New Jersey Department of Health, the CDC and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, as applicable, for maintaining a clean, safe and healthy work environment.
What other requirements are in the EO?
- Paragraph 5 – Installs additional requirements where a business is authorized to maintain in-person operations pursuant to Executive Order No. 107 (2020) and subsequent Administrative Orders. Residential buildings with at least 50 units will need to adopt minimum cleaning policies.
- Paragraph 6 – Providers for waivers to the EO by State Director of Emergency Management.
- Paragraph 7 – Requires every person and governmental entities to cooperate fully in all matters concerning this Executive Order.
- Paragraph 8 – Provides that penalties for violations of this EO may include imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine not to exceed $1,000.00.
NJBA urges all members to continue following safety recommendations. Members can visit NJBA’s Covid-19 Information Page for a host of safety related information and guidelines.