On June 4, 2021, Governor Murphy signed A5820 into law, ending the COVID‑19 public health emergency. Immediately after signing the legislation, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 244, officially lifting the COVID‑19 public health emergency in New Jersey that has been in place since March 9, 2020.
The new law provides that all executive orders issued in response to the public health emergency shall expire 30 days following the effective date of the law, i.e., July 4, 2021. The law, however, keeps 14 executive orders issued during the pandemic in place until January 1, 2022, with the option for Governor Murphy to modify or rescind them prior to that date. One of those executive orders is Executive Order No. 112, which, among other things, granted temporary licenses and civil and criminal immunity to health care providers in connection with the COVID-19 response.
Importantly, however, the law modified Executive Order No. 112 in two significant manners. First, the law states that the civil and criminal immunity provided to health care providers under Executive Order No. 112 and the Department of Health (“DOH”) Executive Directive No. 20‑006 will expire on September 1, 2021 – not January 1, 2022. Second, civil immunity will continue beyond September 1, 2021 only for health care professionals for vaccinations or testing related to COVID-19. The remaining aspects of Executive Order No. 112 that addresses temporary licenses, etc., will remain in place until January 1, 2022.
In addition, Executive Order No. 111, which directed that health care facilities must report data concerning capacity and supplies on a daily basis, is among the orders that remains in effect until January 1, 2022.
Just as important, with certain exceptions, any administrative orders, directives, or waivers issued by a State agency that relied on the existence of the public health emergency, including the DOH, are extended until January 11, 2022, but such orders, directives or waivers may be revoked or modified at the discretion of the State agency. If necessary, the Governor may seek a further 90‑day extension of such orders, directives, or waivers as long as the Governor's request is approved by the State Senate and Assembly.
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