[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 3374







Sponsored by:


District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)


District 25 (Morris and Somerset)


Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Holzapfel and Gopal






     Expands indoor capacity for food and dining establishments and banquet and wedding venues under certain circumstances during coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.



     As reported by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on May 6, 2021, with amendments.


An Act concerning indoor 1[consumption of food or beverages] capacity for food and dining establishments and banquet and wedding venues1 during 1[the public health emergency declared in response to]1 the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.


     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


      1.   a. During the public health emergency declared by the Governor in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 1(COVID-19)1 pandemic, any 1[restaurant or dining] food or beverage1 establishment, or banquet or wedding venue, in any indoor area on its premises, shall limit the number of customers or patrons served up to:

      (1)  1[25 percent] the percentage1 of the 1[establishment’s] establishment or venue’s1 capacity 1as permitted by the Governor in an active executive order issued in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic1 if the establishment 1or venue1 does not certify as to the measures it is taking in accordance 1[to] with1 paragraph (2) of this subsection to mitigate the risks of coronavirus disease 2019; or

      (2)  1[50 percent of the establishment’s] full1 capacity if:

      (a)  the establishment 1or venue1 is in a region of the State that is designated by the Department of Health as having a coronavirus disease 2019 activity level of 1[moderate or lower] low1 based on the most up to date activity report issued by the Department of Health;

      (b)  the establishment 1or venue1 certifies to the county board of health in which the 1[restaurant] establishment or venue1 is located that the establishment 1or venue1 has:

      (i)   1[Installed] installed1 barriers of plexi-glass, plastic, or some other material that has been approved by the commissioner between each table;

      (ii)  1[Limited] limited1 parties dining together 1to1 10 or fewer individuals;

      (iii)  provided the county board of health with information on the 1[restaurant’s] establishment or venue’s1 capacity at 100 percent, 50 percent, and 25 percent; and

      (iv)  1[Where] where1 there is a presumptive positive or positive case of 1coronavirus disease 20191 an employee, guest, visitor, or vendor, shut down immediately to disinfect, notify the county board of health and all employees, guests, visitors, or vendors, while adhering to all confidentiality requirements in accordance with the federal "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990" (42 U.S.C. s.12101 et seq.) and any other applicable laws pertaining to privacy or confidentiality of medical information;

      (c)  the establishment 1or venue1 creates and submits a certified coronavirus disease 2019 preparedness plan, in a form created by the Department of Health, to the county board of health, which includes:

      (i)   employee protocols on how to monitor for signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019, including a policy for employees to report their signs and symptoms prior to entering the workplace and for employees to report when they are sick 1[,] ;1

      (ii)  a policy on presumptive or actual positive coronavirus disease 2019 cases of any employee, guest, visitor 1,1 or vendor that requires the business to suspend operations immediately for cleaning and disinfection in accordance with 1federal1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance prior to restarting operations;

      (iii)  an outline of its sick leave policy, including a certification of its compliance with all requirements under the "Family Leave Act," P.L.1989, c.261 (C.34:11B-1 et seq.), the federal "Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993," Pub.L.103-3 (29 U.S.C. s.2601 et seq.), P.L.2018, c.10 (C.34:11D-1 et seq.), 1and1 P.L.1948, c.110 (C.43:21-25 et seq.), to the extent those laws are applicable, and any other applicable State or federal laws regarding leave;

      (iv)  a policy to ensure adequate social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet between individuals, or groups of individuals, in the establishment 1or venue1 , whether the individuals are patrons or employees, to the extent possible;

      (v)  where it is not possible to maintain a distance of six feet between individuals, a policy to erect barriers between individuals, which shall include the type of barrier utilized,

      (vi) 1[imit] a limit1 to the number of patrons that may be seated together at the same time;

      (vii)  requiring each employee to wash hands immediately after entering the building and frequently throughout the employee’s shift;

      (viii)  the installation of hand-sanitizer dispensers or stations at the entrance of the establishment 1or venue1 and in areas throughout the establishment 1or venue1 for employees and patrons to be used for hand hygiene in addition to soap and water in restrooms;

      (ix)  requiring masks for all employees who are in direct contact with patrons, making masks available to all employees at no cost to the employees, and requiring masks be worn by all patrons until drinks or meals arrive at the table;

      (x)  ventilation protocols that include the maintenance of all building systems and an ongoing assessment of the amount of fresh air and air recirculation in the establishment 1or venue1 , and ensuring that ventilation systems are being properly used;

      (xi)  cleaning and disinfection protocols that 1:1  identify who is cleaning and disinfecting if there is a presumptive or positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 1[,] ;1 require that there will be frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all food surfaces, including 1,1 but not limited to, equipment, including restrooms, high touch areas, meeting rooms, host stations, railings, credit card readers, counters, and menus 1[,] ;1 and require that tables, chairs, and other shared items will be cleaned and disinfected after each use;

      (xii)  signage protocols to inform customers to remain at least six feet apart while in the establishment 1or venue1 , and signage at the entrance with the certification that the establishment has met the requirements of this act 1and1 is allowed to serve patrons at 1[50 percent] full1 capacity; and

      (xiii)  communication and training protocols to ensure that all employees have access to the preparedness plan required under this paragraph and that all employees are properly trained to comply with the preparedness plan;

      (d) 1with respect to customers who dine in the establishment or venue and not those who order takeout or delivery from the establishment or venue,1 the establishment 1or venue1 agrees to conduct contact tracing in the event 1[or] of1 a presumptive positive case or a positive case 1of coronavirus disease 20191 , which shall include such preemptive measures as maintaining records of the names and contact information of all persons who enter the establishment 1or venue1 ; and

      (e)  the establishment 1or venue1 certifies that it is in compliance with all other applicable State and federal laws.

      b.   (1) A 1[restaurant or dining] food or beverage1 establishment 1, or banquet or wedding venue,1 may submit an application to operate at 50 percent 1or full1 capacity indoors at any time to the county board of health, which shall review and determine eligibility to operate at 50 percent 1or full1 capacity 1, as is applicable based on the COVID-19 activity level in which the establishment or venue is located,1 within 1[seven] 141 days of receipt of the 1[establishment’s] establishment or venue’s1 application.  1If the county board of health determines that the establishment or venue has submitted insufficient documentation for a determination of eligibility, then the establishment or venue shall have seven days from the date of the board’s notice of insufficient information to provide the necessary documentation.1

      c.   If a region’s activity level of coronavirus disease 2019 increases above 1low but no higher than1 moderate 1,1 as determined in the Department of Health’s “ 1[Covid-19] COVID-191 Activity Report,” 1and an establishment or venue complies with the certification and other requirements established under paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section,1 all establishments within the region shall 1[decrease] maintain1 their indoor operations to a maximum of 1[25] 501 percent capacity of the 1[establishment’s] establishment or venue’s1 capacity.

      d.   Any person may report a suspected violation of this act to the appropriate county board of health.  The board of health or county health department to which the violation was reported shall investigate the alleged violation.  If it is determined that the establishment 1or venue1 violated the provisions of this act, the county board of health shall have the discretion to reduce the capacity of the establishment 1[to 25 percent]1 until the violation is remediated to the satisfaction of the county board of health.  1As an alternative to a reduction in capacity, a county board of health may issue a stop-work order to an establishment or venue in violation of this act.  The order shall remain in effect until the county board of health issues an order releasing the stop-work order upon finding that the establishment or venue is in compliance with this act.1

      e.   The Department of Health shall routinely update and publish its “ 1[Covid-19] COVID-191 Activity Level Report” and distribute the report, as updated, to all the county boards of health in a timely manner.  1[This] The1 department shall post this information on its website and report its findings to each county on a monthly basis.

      f.    Nothing in this act shall be construed to relieve a 1[restaurant or dining] food or beverage1 establishment, or a banquet or wedding venue, of any requirement established by any other law or regulation. 

      g.   Notwithstanding the provisions of this act, if the Governor issues an executive order permitting 1[restaurants, dining] food or beverage1 establishments, or banquet or wedding venues, to operate at a higher capacity 1[than 25 percent]1 indoors without compliance with the requirements of this act, the requirements of this act shall not prohibit such establishments 1or venues1 from operating in accordance with the Governor’s executive order.

      h.   The Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development 1,1 shall establish rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act.  1A county board of health may request assistance from the Departments of Health and Labor and Workforce Development, or appropriate political subdivisions of the State, in implementing the provisions of this act.

      i.    As used in this act, and notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, “food or beverage establishment” includes restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, bars, and all other holders of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges.1


      2.   This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire 1[upon the termination of the public health emergency and any extensions thereof declared by the Governor in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic] on the later of:

      a.  the date of expiration, termination, or rescission of any and all executive or administrative orders issued by the Governor or Commissioner of Health establishing occupancy or customer seating restrictions related to coronavirus disease 2019 that are applicable to food or beverage establishments or venues; or

     b.    the first day of the seventh month next following the date on which the Governor declares that the state of emergency declared in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has ended1 .