COVID-19: NJ ends Public Health Emergency Declaration

On Friday, June 4, Governor Murphy signed legislation that effectively ends the New Jersey COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Order that has been in place since March 9, 2020.

While some have commented that the bills were rushed through the State legislature, the Bill, A-5820/S-3866, was passed and signed by the governor yesterday.

As passed, the Bill allows for the continuation of 14 executive orders, including Executive Order No. 229, which extended a moratorium preventing New Jersey residents from having their utilities disconnected through June 30, 2021.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, the Administration is authorized to issue orders, directives, and waivers under the authority in the Emergency Health Powers Act that are specifically related to:

• personnel allocation and health resource allocation efforts;
• testing;
• vaccinations; 
• health department coordination;
• data retention, sharing, collection and access; and
• implementation of CDC recommendations to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

In these instances, the Governor has retained authority until January 11, 2022, which authority can be extended for 90 days with the passage of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature.

As of July 4, 2021, the Bill and the follow on companion bill effectively puts an end the Public Health Emergency declaration in New Jersey.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: As of 4-2-21, NJ Expands Outdoor Gathering Numbers and Indoor Seating Capacity for Large Venues

Earlier today on 3-30-21, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 234, which will increase outdoor gathering limits and increase capacity for seated events at large venues. The Order also clarifies indoor capacity limits for banquet halls and similar venues.

Executive Order No. 234 enables the following changes on Friday, April 2, at 6:00 a.m.:

Outdoor Gatherings:

The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 50 people to 200 people.

Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, or memorial services will continue to not have any limit.

College and youth sporting events will be permitted up to 200 spectators if the outdoor venue can accommodate appropriate social distancing.

Large Venues:

Venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 20% capacity indoors and 30% capacity outdoors. The capacity limits will continue to exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers.

Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except those individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.

Catered Events:

The Order also clarifies that banquet halls and similar dining establishments and venues that use a licensed caterer can host indoor celebrations and other private catered events at 35% of the room’s capacity, up to 150 persons.

Indoor Gatherings:

The general indoor gathering limit will remain at 25 people.

Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: NJ Expands list of Eligible Vaccine Recipients

Late last week (on March 27, 2021), Governor Murphy announced the expansion of eligibility for vaccines to more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.

Beginning Monday, April 5, the following groups are eligible for vaccination:

Individuals ages 55-64;

Individuals ages 16 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
Educators, including support staff, in higher education settings;

Communications infrastructure support, including engineers, and technicians, and members of the press;

Real estate, building, and home service workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers;

Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending services, public accounting, and check-cashing workers;

Sanitation workers providing disinfection and janitorial services, city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal workers;

Laundry service workers, including those working in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners;

Utility workers including, electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber/optical/broadband/cellular service workers; and,

Librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA announces April time frame for additional restaurant and hospitality indoor and outdoor rules relaxation

Earlier today, Monday, March 15th, PA Gov. Wolf relaxed certain Covid-19 restrictions, including making substantial modification to some of the more  restrictive guidelines that apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Effective April 4th at midnight, “self-certified” restaurants, gyms, casinos, malls and theatres in PA will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Non-self-certified restaurants are required to remain at 50% capacity. The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements issued by the CDC and the PA Department of Health.

The previous guideline that required restaurants and bars to have “last call” at 11 p.m. has also been eliminated. Additionally, bar seating will now be permitted so long as barriers exist between guests. Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, the changes also lift requirements that patrons order food with alcohol, i.e., merely drinking will be permitted on a go forward basis as of April 4.

The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, also regardless of venue size.

The City of Philadelphia is currently allowing a 50% indoor capacity maximum if the applicable restaurant is approved under a certification process. Philadelphia which has set its own stricter rules has advised that it will review its rules in light of the new Commonwealth guidance.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift certain COVID-19 bans on 1-15-21

Earlier today, January 12, 2021, the Kenney Administration announced that Philadelphia will lift its ban on theaters, indoor dining, and in-person college instruction on January 15, 2021.

Theaters will able to reopen, with a maximum audience of 5% of total capacity or 5 people per 1,000 square feet, including both attendees and staff. Food and drink will not be allowed, and all guests must wear masks.

Restaurants will be permitted to have indoor dining for 25% of their seating capacity.

Colleges and universities will now be allowed to resume in-person instruction.

Other indoor gatherings, indoor recreational sports, indoor catered events and senior day services will remain in restricted status for the moment.

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, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift indoor dining (and theatre and movie) ban on September 8th

As of September 8, 2020, Philadelphia will allow indoor dining at restaurants.

Key elements of the dining restrictions include:

1.  Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25% capacity.

2.  No more than 4 diners per table.

3.  Tables must be arranged so that diners at separate tables are at least 6 feet apart or have an impermeable barrier between them.

The indoor dining ban will lift a day after Labor Day in an attempt to avoid holiday crowds. Indoor dining has been banned since mid-March.

Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, restaurant owners are also being urged to increase ventilation in their establishments to further decrease the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Outdoor dining is permitted to continue under current restrictions, including having no more than 50 people outside.

Other restrictions will include:

1.  Servers must wear both masks and face shields for additional protection.

2.  Continuation of no bar service.

3.  Alcohol can be served only for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

4.  Last call for all indoor dining orders will be at 11 p.m. and establishments will be required to be closed for service by midnight.

5.  Restaurants must install physical barriers such as sneeze guards or partitions in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers, host stands, and food pick-up areas where maintaining physical distance of at least six feet is difficult.

6.  Restaurants are required to  screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on-site if they have a cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell.

Indoor theaters and movie theaters will also be allowed to reopen on Sept. 8 with venues not to exceed 50% capacity, with a maximum of 25 people allowed.

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, Eve Klein, Jonathan Segal, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: Philadelphia Extends Indoor Dining Ban through 9-1-20

Philadelphia has extended its ban on indoor dining at restaurants to Sept. 1 after the city has seen another week Covid-19 cases on the rise. The previous ban was set to end Aug. 1.

Health officials noted that while they sympathize with restaurant owners, the risk of infection spread is increased with indoor dining.

Mayor Jim Kenney said his administration is working with restaurants to help with permits extending outdoor seating to sidewalks or “streeteries.” According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia is allowed to offer indoor dining while limiting capacity under guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, but city officials have prohibited it as Covid-19 case rates still hover around more than 100 per day.

The Health Commissioner stated that he does NOT believe the city is near a point where it would shut down again, but that officials would regulate or educate in settings where the virus is spreading.For Further Information:

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, Eve Klein, Jon Segal, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA makes $50M available for Hazard Pay Grants to Life Sustaining Occupations

Governor Tom Wolf announced the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hazard pay is intended to keep front-line employees working in vital industry sectors across Pennsylvania.

“In the fight against COVID-19, our front-line workers have put themselves at risk every day in order to continue to provide life-sustaining services to their fellow Pennsylvanians, and this funding will increase their pay in recognition of those sacrifices,” said Gov. Wolf. “These grants will help businesses retain employees, ensure that Pennsylvanians keep working and avoid disruption of critical goods and services.”

Created through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this reimbursement-based grant is available to employers offering hazard pay during the eligible program period and will be administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Businesses may apply for grants up to a maximum of $3 million.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

• Businesses
• Healthcare Non-profits
• Public Transportation Agencies
• Certified Economic Development Organizations (CEDO)

Eligible Pennsylvania-based industries include:

• Healthcare and Social Assistance
• Ambulatory Health Care Services
• Hospitals
• Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
• Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
• Food Manufacturing
• Food Retail Facilities
• Security Services for eligible industries listed above and commercial industries that were not closed as a result of the Governor’s Business Closure Order
• Janitorial Services to Buildings and Dwellings

Grant funds may be used for hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20/hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the 10-week period from August 16, 2020, to October 24, 2020. Applicants may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. Employers may apply for a grant to provide hazard pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.

Eligible applicants may apply for grants using the online DCED Electronic Single Application for Assistance located at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us from July 16, 2020, to July 31, 2020. Program inquiries may be directed to (717) 787-6245 or ra-dcedcbf@pa.gov.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

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.

For Further Information:

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

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA Announces New Gathering Limitations – Effective July 16th

Earlier this afternoon, around 3:30 pm, on 7-15-20, PA Governor Wolf announced new gathering restrictions that will go into effect at 12:01AM on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

For a copy of the Governor’s order – 

Bars:

1. All bars are prohibited from conducting operations unless they offer sit-down, dine-in meals.

2. Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

3. All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.

4. Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

For purposes of the order, occupancy requirements are:

1. Limited to 25% of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining.

2. A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.

Restaurants and private catered events:

For purposes of the order, occupancy requirements are:

1. Limited to 25% of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining.

2. A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by the order, including:

1. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.

2. Customers being served must be seated at a table.

3. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

4. Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.

5. Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal. Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

Nightclubs:

1. All nightclubs, as defined by the Clean Indoor Air Act, 35 P.S. § 637.2, are prohibited from conducting operations.

Other events and gatherings:

Events and gatherings other than those in businesses in the retail food services industry must adhere to these gathering limitations:

2. Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.

3. Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.

4. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Teleworking:

1. Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.

2. Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

Gyms and fitness facilities:

All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart, as well as being limited by any limitations related to.

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.

For Further Information:

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

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: Philadelphia Limits Public Gatherings of 50 or more on public property through February 28, 2021

As of late yesterday, July 14, 2020, Philadelphia issued a public gathering, large event moratorium notice. Per Mayor Kenney’s office, due to the ongoing public health crisis, the City’s Office of Special Events will not accept, review, process, or approve applications, issue permits, or enter into agreements for special events or public gatherings of 50 or more people on public property through February 28, 2021.

The City may further extend this timeline based on feedback from public health experts. Any pending applications will not be further reviewed, processed or approved.

The moratorium will apply to special events and public gatherings including, but not limited to:

•Festivals
•Parades
•Concerts
•Carnivals
•Fairs
•Flea markets

In addition, permit applications for residential block party permits will not be accepted until further notice. Any pending applications will not be further reviewed, processed or approved at this time. Further guidance regarding block party permits, including a timeline for when such activities may resume, will be communicated as soon as possible.

The moratorium does not apply to:

•Demonstrations and First Amendment-protected activities.
•Outdoor gatherings that are not publicly advertised—such as family picnics and outdoor weddings—with less than 50 pre-registered guests.
•Organized, outdoor group recreational and sports activities for youth and adults with less than 25 participants.
•Events and gatherings taking place on private property, including performance venues and stadiums.

Please note this is different than the rules that have been issued for dining that are still applicable in PA and in Philadelphia.

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.

For Further Information:

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

Be well and stay safe!