The National Restaurant Association, with the help of lawyers from Jackson Lewis, has published a guide on what restaurants can do to protect their workplaces from coronavirus.
Some of the preventative items, like taking employees’ temperature before allowing them in the workplace, would not be allowed under normal circumstances. Because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending this action during the current public health emergency, however, employers will be allowed to take certain actions that would not otherwise be permissible.
That doesn’t mean all of the rules have been set aside. Here is a quick look at the guidance for restaurants, which in New Jersey can only be open for takeout until 8 p.m. under the governor’s recent executive order.
- Employers can require employees to bring a note certifying that they can come to work without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), at least as far as the law is concerned. As a practical matter, healthcare professionals will likely be too busy managing the healthcare crisis to deliver fit-for-work letters.
- During this emergency, employers legally can require measuring employees’ body temperature before allowing them in the workplace. If you do establish such a policy, the guidance suggests retaining a nurse for the task, and employers must be mindful of the employee’s privacy.
- Employers may require employees to where masks to cover their mouths and noses. They do not have to be bona fide surgical masks; homemade face coverings made of cloth or low-cost substitutes are fine.