Legal Update

Nov 13, 2020

New York and New Jersey Issue New Restrictions In Light of Increased COVID-19 Cases

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Seyfarth Synopsis: As COVID-19 cases rise across the nation and in the New York Metropolitan Area, both New York State and New Jersey have issued new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.  These new restrictions go into effect on November 12th for New Jersey and November 13th for New York.  While the majority of the restrictions are currently limited to restaurants, bars, personal care services, and gyms, employers (as well as the residents of these states) should remain vigilant as it is possible restrictions may be expanded to additional industries and personal activities.


As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in New York and New Jersey, both States enacted restrictions that go into effect this week.

New York Restrictions

On November 11th, Governor Cuomo issued the following new restrictions, which go into effect on November 13th at 10 p.m.:

  • Bars, restaurants and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments, will be required to close daily from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m., but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go.
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people.

In adopting these new restrictions, the Governor’s office noted that it brings New York into alignment with similar requirements in neighboring Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

New Jersey Restrictions

On November 10th, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 194, which went into effect on November 12th at 5 a.m.  The Executive Order, which has a similar theme but slightly different requirements, provides that:

  • Restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and other businesses that serve food or drinks will not be able to operate their indoor premises between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., but they may continue to offer outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services after 10:00 p.m.
  • Casinos shall cease indoor food and beverage service between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day, including service on casino floors, with the exception of room service delivered to guest rooms and takeout.
  • Food and beverage establishments are prohibited from seating patrons at any indoor bar area at any time.
  • Food and beverage establishments that are permitted to offer in-person service at indoor areas must ensure that tables where individuals or groups are seated at a distance of six feet apart in all directions from any other table or seat. If six feet of distance is not possible, establishments must erect barriers (g., plexiglass separators) between tables in compliance with guidance from the Department of Health. It should be noted that this development may add some level of relief for restaurants that had available headcount capacity under the existing rules capping  room capacity at 25%, but who could not space tables sufficiently to utilize all of that capacity.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to set up plastic domes outdoors, limited to one group each, as additional outdoor dining space. As in New York, such “domes” must be cleaned and serviced in accordance with all health and CDC guidelines and must also comply with all building codes. 
  • Indoor youth (high school and younger) sporting activities have been limited severely and banned if they involve competitions including a team originating from another state.
  • Personal care services[1] shall limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25% of the stated maximum capacity, if applicable, at one time, excluding the facility’s employees.

Employer Takeaways

As New York and New Jersey institute new restrictions, employers and citizens in these states must be on guard for the potential of further lockdown plans and must remain up to date on the changes and developments that arise without significant notice and seemingly in a constant wave.  As we have done throughout this pandemic and across all industries, Seyfarth lawyers are available to assist employers with ensuring compliance.


[1] Personal care services collectively refer to cosmetology shops; barber shops; beauty salons; hair braiding shops; nail salons; electrology facilities; day spas and medical spas; massage parlors, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors.