Note: The information listed may change and update as the situation unfolds. Visit New Jersey’s COVID Information site here.
COVID-19 vaccines are on the way to hospitals and clinics across New Jersey. Residents can pre-register to reserve a spot to get a vaccine now by clicking here.
In early October, the New Jersey Department of Health announced the launch of “COVID Alert NJ,” a new app available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for free. This app will be a crucial public health tool in keeping workers and patrons safe and allowing businesses to stay open!
We encourage our members to use this new app to protect themselves and their families from exposure. Learn more and download the app on NJ.gov!
The UFCW recommends that all potentially exposed healthcare workers have access to adequate supplies of N95 disposable, filtering facepiece respirators, which are commonly used in healthcare. Some employers have begun using respirators, such as elastomeric half-masks and Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs), which are even more protective than N95 respirators. Personal protective equipment also includes gloves, gown, and a face shield.
OSHA requires the employer to fit test workers annually, as well as when the worker has experienced significant weight fluctuation, dental work or other facial differences that would impact the seal of a tight-fitting respirator. PAPRs use hoods and do not require fit testing. Workers must be medically cleared to use respirators. All workers are entitled to training on respirator use. Surgical masks are never adequate for respiratory protection.
Workers responsible for cleaning patient rooms, treatment rooms, and equipment must be provided appropriate PPE and training to protect them both from contracting the coronavirus and from the strong chemicals used to kill the virus. If the employer introduces new cleaning products into the facility, the workers are entitled to training on the product, as required by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.
Patients with suspected coronavirus should be given a surgical mask and moved immediately into an isolation room, preferably a negative pressure room. The facility’s infection control plan should provide guidance on isolation, cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilization of patient care equipment.
All personnel who enter the patient’s room should use standard, contact and airborne precautions—gowns, gloves, face shields and NIOSH-certified disposable N95 or stronger respirators, such as powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). Surgical masks are not a substitute for respirators and do not protect the wearer. Donning personal protective equipment (PPE) should be done in the following order:
When removing or doffing PPE, the user should assume the exterior is contaminated. Doffing PPE should be done in this order:
There should also be a facility protocol to evaluate workers who report fevers and symptoms after exposure to a suspected and/or confirmed infected patient. Employers should keep records of any worker infection, which should be investigated and presumed to be work-related unless proven otherwise.
As a grocery or food retail worker, potential sources of exposure include close contact for prolonged periods of time with a customer with COVID-19 and touching your nose, mouth, or eyes after handling items, cash, or merchandise that customers with COVID-19 have touched.
For more information on the CDC guidelines for retail workers, visit their website here.
Workers in food processing plants work in close proximity to other workers. The manufacturing work environment—production or assembly lines and other areas in busy plants where workers have close contact with coworkers and supervisors—may contribute substantially to workers’ potential exposures.
For more information on the CDC guidelines for food processing and manufacturing plant workers, click here.
UFCW Local 152 is encouraging employers to have the following in place:
A few months ago, New Jersey launched an Emergency Child Care Assistance Program (ECCAP) to help support child care costs when a parent/guardian is an essential employee. This program is now closed.
However, if you still need help paying for child care, you can still apply for the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program.
For school-aged children, New Jersey is now offering a new program called School-Age Tuition Assistance Program, which will provide tuition assistance to parents/caretakers with school-age children (5 to 13 years old) in need of child care due to schools’ remote learning schedules this fall as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development
North New Jersey: 201-601-4100;
Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020;
South New Jersey: 856-507-2340;
Out of state: 888-795-6672
According to WHO and the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to take preventative actions, such as:
We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slow the spread of the virus.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration: osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/index.html