Business Report: New workplace health standards, home sales, COVID-19 relief

Gov. Murphy issues new executive order establishing workplace health and safety standards for all public and private sector workers

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday issued a new executive order that he says is designed to protect New Jersey workers. The order establishes workplace health and safety standards to cover all public and private sector workers in the state. Among other things, all workers would have to undergo a health screening before each shift, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from each other, wear a mask in most cases and get periodic breaks to wash their hands. Workers also must be told if there is a known exposure to coronavirus in the workplace. Businesses that don’t comply face a potential shutdown by the state.

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association criticized the executive order, saying most businesses already have protective safeguards in place and that there is no need for more mandates or additional costs for businesses.

New Jersey’s housing market is showing no signs of slowing down. New Jersey Realtors President Angela Sicoli says homes are moving fast and prices continue to climb. The median sales price for all New Jersey properties was $375,000 in September; that’s 21% higher than in September 2019. Pending sales surged nearly 50% last month. The group expects buyer demand will remain strong through the fall.

New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) on Wednesday urged congressional leaders to reach an agreement on a new COVID-19 relief deal. He says another round of Paycheck Protection Program loans is needed to help businesses in New Jersey and elsewhere. Gottheimer says it’s time to put politics aside and reach an agreement.