Effective April 10, New Jersey is requiring workers and customers to wear cloth face covering while on the premises of the essential retail businesses, warehouses, and construction sites that are still allowed to be open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Philip Murphy’s Executive Order #122, issued April 8, implemented a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus at essential businesses, including occupancy and social distancing measures, among others. The order also requires non-essential construction projects to cease and put in place restrictions for essential projects.
The order states that “businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for their employees. If a customer 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.”
A New Jersey Motor Truck Association notice says most facilities will provide the driver with a face mask, if they don’t have one.
“We had heard that a few drivers were turned away from making a delivery due to the lack of a face mask. We have not been able to confirm an actual incident. We have confirmed that several major grocery companies will provide the driver with a mask, if needed.”
The association said it has advised the DOT commissioner that the industry has had a difficult time securing the proper equipment and hopes that it doesn’t cause a problem for the supply chain.
“If you have not been able to secure face masks for your drivers, a cloth mask, scarf or other material covering their nose and mouth will be acceptable,” says the association.
Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings
The governor’s order calls for cloth face coverings, but it also says workers or customers may wear surgical-grade masks or other more protective face covering “if the individual is already in possession of such equipment, or if the business is otherwise required to provide such worker with more protective equipment due to the nature of the work involved.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its latest guidance regarding face masks, advises the use of cloth face coverings – not the surgical masks or N95 masks needed by medical workers. It notes that these can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost.
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of “significant community-based transmission.”
Recent studies, the CDC explains, show that a significant portion of individuals with the novel coronavirus have no symptoms, and that those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms, the guidance explains. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
The CDC also emphasizes that even with masks, maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.