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Return-to-Work Protocols for Essential Personnel

Source: NJ Department of Health and Center for Disease Control

Public and private sector organizations that provide essential services or functions who have personnel needed to maintain critical functions including infrastructure, public safety, and other essential operations, may allow personnel who are exposed to or recovering from COVID-19, to work in the workplace setting where needed to maintain essential operations. These essential services or functions include public health personnel, utility and water operators, skilled manufacturers and supporting supply chains, law enforcement, and emergency response personnel.

Essential personnel who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 can be permitted to work in the required workplace setting under the following conditions:

1. Working from home would not be feasible for job duties.

2. Personnel are asymptomatic.

3. Personnel quarantine themselves when not at work.

4. Personnel undergo temperature monitoring and symptom checks upon arrival to work and at least every 12 hours while at work, and self-monitor (take temperature, assess for symptoms) twice a day when at home.

5. Personnel whose job duties require interaction within 6 feet of another individual should wear a facemask while working until 14 days after the last exposure.

6. Personnel whose job duties permit a separation of greater than 6 feet should have environmental controls in place to ensure separation is maintained and do not need to wear a facemask.

7. If personnel develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) while working, they should immediately stop work and isolate at home. If symptoms worsen over time and they feel that they need a medical evaluation, they should contact their health care provider

Essential personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can be permitted to work in the required workplace setting under the following conditions:

1. Personnel have maintained isolation for at least seven days after illness onset and have been at least 72 hours fever-free (without fever reducing medications) and with other symptoms substantially improving.

2. Personnel who are recovering from COVID-19 according to condition #1 above, may be required to wear a facemask until 14 days after onset of illness if they have close contact with vulnerable populations.

For more information:

• New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub:

• New Jersey hotlines: 1-800-962-1253 or 211

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: