COVID-19: Vaccines to arrive in NJ on Tuesday 12-15-20 – Who will Receive them First?

As the Pfizer FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines begin to arrive in NJ on 12-15-20, the burning question on some people’s minds is who will be getting inoculated first?

Per the NJ Health Commissioner, vaccines will be distributed to almost anyone who works in the healthcare field. The list of eligible recipients is intentionally broad.

Vaccinations will take place at 6 regional hospitals, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, University Health in Newark, AtlantiCare and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick

The list of those at the front of the line includes any “licensed healthcare worker” in the state of New Jersey, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists and occupational therapists, as well as anyone on their staff, such as receptionists.

The list of eligible healthcare workers includes:

– Community health workers such as midwives and doulas
– Dialysis center workers
– Environmental service workers
– Funeral care and autopsy workers
– Homeless shelter workers and residents
– Hospice facility staff
– Lab technicians
– Mortuary service workers, consultants or contractors who deal with medical services but who may not work in an actual medical office,
– Medical marijuana facilities
– Paramedics, EMTs and first-aid responders.
– Rehabilitation staff
– Residents and workers in psychiatric hospitals
– Unpaid workers like students who are studying in hospitals
– Visiting nurses, nurses who work at assisted living homes
– Workers and residents at group homes and assisted-living complexes
– Workers at family planning sites.

Per NJ BIZ, there are 650,000 New Jersey residents who fit into one of those above categories. It does not mean all 650,000 will get the vaccine in December: The state of New Jersey has 76,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to give in the first round.

Those who live in long-term care facilities will also start receiving their first round of the vaccine this week.  More than 20,000 doses will go to long-term care facilities and 54,000 will go to hospitals, which will be the only points of dispensing this week.

 All 6 hospitals receiving the vaccine have arctic-level, subzero freezers in place to store the vaccines.  Very soon, however, 53 acute-care hospitals in New Jersey will also have the Pfizer vaccine.

A second vaccine from Moderna is expected to receive Food & Drug Administration approval later this week.

18 acute care hospitals will receive the Moderna vaccine likely by the beginning of next week. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be kept at such a cold temperature as the Pfizer vaccine.

By way of comparison, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while the Moderna vaccine may be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA Adopts CDC 10 day Quaratine timing for Travel

Per PA Department of Health guidelines posted on Friday, December 5, 2020, PA is lowering the COVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers will need to observe. The new guidance, in line with CDC recommendations, reduces the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days.

Under the new guidance, travelers to PA should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19 or if testing is not available. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel even if they test negative. Note that the self-quarantining is suggested rather than mandatory.

Recommended timing for tests per the CDC are to get a test between 1 and 3 days before the trip, and between 3 to 5 days after the trip.

In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering. Travel quarantine guidance was changed to 10 days last Friday, on Dec. 5 based on new CDC guidance.

The PA order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment, those who left the state for less than 24 hours, and those complying with a court order, including child custody.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Linda B. Hollinshead, Elisabeth Bassani, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19 – NJ adopts CDC guidelines for inbound travelers – reducing self-isolation quarantine timing to 10 day

Per NJ Department of Health guidelines posted on Friday, December 5, 2020, NJ is lowering the COVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers will need to observe. The new guidance, in line with CDC recommendations, reduces the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days.

Under the new guidance, travelers to NJ should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, or if testing is not available. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel even if they test negative. Note that the self-quarantining is suggested rather than mandatory.

Recommended timing for tests per the CDC are to get a test between 1 and 3 days before the trip, and between 3 to 5 days after the trip,

Given the recent numbers of new cases, Gov. Phil Murphy and other state and federal health officials have discouraged any non-essential travel, especially the family gatherings typical of the holiday season.

Per NJ Biz, “essential travel” over state lines is largely exempt, and that includes for going to work, medical reasons, military purposes or court orders such as child custody, according to the state health department.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

COVID-19: Counties and Municipalities in NJ are now permitted to establish curfews for Non-Essential Businesses

Earlier today, November 12, 2020, Governor Murphy executed an Executive Order allowing municipalities and counties the option to impose curfews on all non-essential businesses as early as 8:00 p.m. Municipalities and counties do not have to impose restrictions, but they will now have the power to do so if they choose.

In his press briefing, the Governor advised that other municipality or county actions such as: restrictions on essential businesses, full business closures, or restrictions on gatherings and capacity that differ from the statewide rules are “impermissible and will be invalidated.”

Per our earlier reporting, a closure requirement for all bars, restaurants and clubs at 10 PM until 5:00 AM goes into effect today and all bar side seating is prohibited.

Per reporting from NJ Biz, Gov. Murphy additionally announced that New Jersey was chosen by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services as one of the first states to receive CUE Health’s molecular rapid test. He said that the test has shown to produce results with 99% accuracy in approximately 20 minutes.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

COVID-19: NJ Announces $60M of Additional Covid-Relief Small Business Grants

On November 11, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a commitment of at least $60 Million in additional relief grants under Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBEAG).

This funding is in addition to $70 M of funds already allocated for the current phase of the SBEAG program and will enable the NJEDA to fulfill grants for the entire pipeline of eligible businesses that applied for Phase 3 funding prior to the application deadline.

Without this additional funding, approximately 13,000 of the nearly 22,000 businesses that applied for Phase 3 grants would have been denied a grant given the amount of interest in the program.

Per NJ Business Today, the NJEDA’s suite of COVID-19 relief programs provides a variety of resources for businesses of all sizes, including grants for small businesses, zero-interest loans, support for private-sector lenders and CDFIs, and funding for entrepreneurs.

One of NJEDA’s relief programs is the SBEAG, which provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

To attempt to achieve an equitable distribution of funds, the NJEDA set aside 1/3 of the funding for this program to support qualified businesses located in NJ Opportunity Zones. The goal of this new round of allocations is to help minority and women-owned businesses obtain some of the available grant funds.

According to NJ Business Today, more than 22,000 small businesses have been approved for grants worth more than $64.9 million through Phases 1 and 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The average grant award has been roughly $3,000, which indicates the average approved business has three full-time equivalent employees.

Phase 3 significantly expands eligibility for the Grant Program and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive.

Eligibility – Any business or non-profit located in New Jersey, including home-based businesses, with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) is eligible to receive grant funding during Phase 3, including businesses that received funding in previous phases of the program.

Opportunity Zone Set Asides – To ensure funding goes to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, Phase 3 sets aside funding for restaurants, micro-businesses, and businesses based in the state’s 715 Opportunity Zone-eligible Census tracts.

To date over $250 M of funding from NJEDA has been allocated to support small businesses with a significant focus being on restaurants, micro-businesses, and minority- and women-owned firms.

In addition to the SBEAG Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19.

More information about NJEDA’s programs and other State support is available at https://covid19.nj.gov.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

 

COVID-19: PA Legislature considering $200M Live Music and Theatre Venue Covid-19 Relief Bill – Save our Stages

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, a bill aiming to alleviate the financial impact that Covid-19 has been having on independent live music venues has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

HB2894, dubbed the Pennsylvania “Save Our Stages” Act, looks to allocate $200 million of Cares Act funding for grants to be made available to independent venue operators, theaters and promoters that have had business interrupted by the pandemic.

The Bill was introduced by Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) from the Allegheny County area. As proposed, the Bill could impact approximately 225 independent live music venues.

Eligible recipients would include those that organize, promote, produce, manage or host ticketed live concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions or other events by paid performing artists.

Selected businesses must have fewer than 500 full-time employees, not be publicly traded, and not operate venues in more than 10 states, among other criteria.

Grants would be no greater than 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $2 million (whichever is less) and could be applied to expenses incurred from March 1 through Dec. 31. The funds could be applied to various costs including payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage interest payments, insurance, personal protective equipment and existing loans.

HB2894 is currently under review by the House Commerce committee.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ Announces Additional COVID-19 related Restrictions – Restricting Indoor Food service after 10 PM and Indoor Sports

As of this morning, November 9, 2020, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy is set to follow through on his weekend commentary to impose new COVID-19 related restrictions given NJ’s continued increasing COVID-19 numerics.

Per NJBIZ, the Murphy administration has indicated that bars and restaurants will soon need to close all indoor service by 10 p.m. Interstate indoor organized sports will also be prohibited indefinitely, according to sources in the Murphy administration.

The Governor will announce the restrictions, and provide additional details, during his 1 p.m. news conference.

Specifically, restaurants, casinos and bars will be prohibited from serving food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and these new rules will take effect on November 12, 2020. Restrictions will also be placed on seating.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

NJ Announces Styrofoam Container, Paper and Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

Earlier today, November 4, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that bans Styrofoam containers, and paper and single-use plastic bags over the upcoming years.

Starting in May 2022, businesses such as restaurants, convenience stores, food trucks, movie theaters and grocery stores occupying at least 2,500 square feet are prohibited from giving out polystyrene containers and plastic and paper bags.

And beginning in November 2021, straws can only be given to customers who request them.

Exemptions apply to bags used for wrapping raw meat; Styrofoam butcher trays; bags used for loose produce; those that hold fish and insects from pet stores; and bags for prescription drugs, newspapers and dry-cleaning.

Per the NJBIA, the bill also aims to encourage carryout reusable bags, be it those made of polypropylene, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp products, or other machine-washable fabric.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can grant a one-year waiver to the Styrofoam ban if a business has no “feasible and commercially available alternative,” or if it makes less than $500,000 in yearly gross income.

The measure also allocates $500,000 to the NJDEP for a program to provide free, reusable bags throughout the state. And, to see the state create a Plastics Advisory Council within the NJDEP to gauge the effectiveness of the new restrictions.

Duane Morris has a robust group of transactional and environmental lawyers available to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. If you have any questions about this post or if we can be of assistance, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Lori Mills, Seth Cooley, Phil Cha, Lindsay Ann Brown or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ revises COVID Guidance for Public Gatherings – Self Service Food, Indoor Malls, Athletic Events and Private Tutoring Facilities

On October 31, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy and the head of the New Jersey State Police modified certain restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in New Jersey. The modifications are set forth in Administrative Order 2020-22 (the “AO”).

Key topics include the prohibition of self service food such as buffets and salad bars ; the allowance of indoor shopping mall vending machine and stroller rentals but prohibiting valet and play areas; the loosing of how we count maximum gatherings for athletic competition; and the allowance of private tutoring facilities to reopen for students and clients.

1.  Self-service FoodSelf service food such as buffets and salad bars are prohibited at retail businesses, like grocery stores, under the AO.  Note that self-service drinks are still permitted, but only if they are routinely and effectively cleaned and sanitized.

2.  Indoor Shopping Malls:

  • Vending machines and stroller rentals are now permitted to be operated at malls as long as they are sanitized, but playgrounds and valet parking must remain closed.
  • Valet Parking and communal play areas are NOT permitted at indoor malls

3.  Athletic events (including those for professional sports and collegiate athletic competitions) are still subject to Executive Orders 161 and 183 but, the AO confirms that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers and other individuals necessary to the performance of a competitive sporting event are NOT included in the number of individuals for gathering limits purposes.

For indoor athletic competitions, the amount of people permitted in such venues is capped at 150 people or 25% of the room’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Masks are required to be worn by spectators and non-athletes at both indoor and outdoor venues (except if under 2 years of age, where it is impracticable for an individual to wear a masks (such as when eating or drinking) or when doing so would violate Federal or State law.

4.  Private Tutoring Facilities: Private tutoring facilities may reopen for students and other clients.

For a copy of the Administrative Order No. 2020-22 –  please see https://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20201031/63/af/39/ad/30c4bf2e846cbe2de8b48b61/AO_2020-22.pdf

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: NJ announces COVID centric private employer work safety rules effective November 6, 2020

Pursuant to a new executive order, the Murphy administration is setting up statewide COVID-19 safety standards for private sector employers, and a means to enforce those rules.

Under the order Gov. Phil Murphy signed earlier today, 10-28-2020, which goes into effect at 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 6th, the state has set up will set up a compliance regime with a collection of mandatory COVID-19 reopening protocols, and the means to go after non-compliant employers.

Per NJBIZ, at a minimum, workers have to undergo health screenings at the start of every shift, while everyone present at the workplace has to remain socially distanced. Employees must be made aware if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace.

Employees have to wear a mask, provided at the expense of the business owner, who would also supply sanitizing materials to customers and workers at their own expense. High-touch areas must be routinely cleaned and disinfected, while employees must be provided hand-washing breaks throughout the day.

The Murphy administration included similar rules for large-scale business re-openings, like sanitization, face mask usage, 6-foot physical distancing, staggered shifts to avoid overcrowding, protocols for quarantining COVID-positive workers, and how to screen potentially infected employees.

But without a state-level system of private sector enforcement, it has been reported that many workers continued to feel at risk.

To date, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has only put out voluntary guidance for individual states, rather than strict mandates.

Under the Executive Order, the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development will be required to create a system to investigate a lack of compliance and pursue enforcement actions.

The rules are expected to include a system where employees can submit complaints.

State health and labor officials will be authorized to perform workplace inspections, issue subpoenas and interview both workers and their employers.

The two departments would jointly create a system to aid business owners in complying with the rules. Moreover, the labor department would create worksite notices and materials for both workers and business owners.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Caroline Austin, Danielle Dyer, Elizabeth Mincer, Kathy O’Malley, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.