Governor Murphy Declares Public Health Emergency Due to Omicron Variant of COVID-19
By Eric F. Frizzell, Esq.
On January 11, 2022, Governor Philip D. Murphy, citing numerous concerns relating to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, issued Executive Order No. 280 again declaring a Public Health Emergency in New Jersey. For community associations, this raises concerns regarding whether the State Department of Health (DOH) will soon reinstitute its previous mandates regarding the operation of gyms and swimming pools, or possibly impose other requirements. As of the writing of this bulletin, the DOH has not published any such new mandates, but we will keep you advised if it does.
Governor Murphy had first declared a Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19 on March 9, 2020. His declaration was the basis on which the DOH issued detailed restrictions and requirements pertaining to the operation of gyms and swimming pools. Some of those requirements were difficult or expensive for community associations to implement, and were a key factor, along with the lack of both insurance and tort immunity, in the decision by many association boards to keep their pools and gyms closed.
Governor Murphy terminated that Public Health Emergency on June 4, 2021 based on the significant progress New Jersey had made in responding to COVID-19. The DOH also loosened its restrictions in 2021 on the operation of pools and gyms, converting many of them from requirements into “recommendations”.
We will keep you posted on any new relevant Executive Orders or DOH announcements that are issued. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, as circumstances change boards should review and make appropriate adjustments to their policies regarding the opening, operation, and closing of facilities, requirements for wearing a face covering in common areas, and similar measures.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions.