As COVID-19 numbers continue to spike across the U.S., New Jersey became the first state to mandate safety protocols to protect workers from the coronavirus.
“We can’t wait any longer,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tells Yahoo Finance. “We’re doing it now, frankly, because the federal government should be doing it, and they haven’t done it.”
The executive order goes into effect at 6 a.m. on Nov. 5. It requires employers in both the public and private sector to, among other things, conduct daily health checks of workers, such as temperature screenings and visual symptom checking. Employers must also notify workers when there is possible exposure to the virus and provide them with breaks throughout the day to wash their hands.
A rise of coronavirus cases in some of New Jersey’s most densely populated cities has pushed the state total to over 236,000 cases and 16,332 deaths. Newark, Hoboken and Paterson have issued curfews for non-essential businesses to close early each day.
Murphy says the long feared second wave of coronavirus has arrived in the Garden State, and he refused to rule out issuing another lockdown for non-essential businesses if it continues to surge.
“We’re not there yet, but all options are on the table,” he said. “If we have to shut the whole place down we will. We were one of the first, if not the first state to do that in March. I just hope we can avoid it again this time.”
Another lockdown could be the final blow to hundreds of small businesses in the state, including restaurants, which recently reopened their indoor dining at 25% capacity.
“This is real. People are dying,” said Murphy. “People are going to the hospital and we need everybody to ban together and push back on that pandemic fatigue and push the numbers back down.”
Alexis Christoforous is a host and reporter for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.