On Thursday, June 18, 2020 the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued
Administrative Order 2020-10, permitting licensed veterinarians to provide the full scope of veterinary services as of Thursday, June 18, 2020, subject to certain requirements.
Under the order, licensed veterinarians are authorized to provide the full scope of veterinary services, including all urgent, non-urgent and routine veterinary services, and including spays and neuters, in an office setting, and shall comply with, and ensure that their staff comply with, the following requirements:
Avoid Person-To-Person Contact with Animal Owners/Clients (Hereinafter “Clients”)
- Utilize telemedicine to the greatest extent possible to triage patients and prioritize urgent visits.
- Tell clients who are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic that they should have a friend or family member outside the client’s household who is neither COVID-19 positive nor symptomatic bring the animal to the office.
- Require anyone bringing an animal to the veterinary office to wear, at a minimum, a cloth face covering, in accordance with CDC recommendations, while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or the individual is under two years of age. If the person bringing an animal to the veterinary office arrives without a cloth face covering, at a minimum, and is not exempt from this requirement, the office must either provide the individual a suitable face covering or decline entry to the individual.
- Space appointments as appropriate to minimize client-to-client contact and the number of people utilizing curbside service or in the office at any given time.
- Implement curbside drop-off and pick up procedures to the extent feasible by having clients call upon arrival and have a staff member retrieve and return the animal and, after the visit, call the client to discuss the treatment or care provided and follow-up needed.
Facilitate Social Distancing Within the Office
- Minimize clients’ contact with staff in the reception area during triage, check-in and check-out, or arrange the in-take area to ensure six feet between individuals, if curbside drop-off and pick-up are not feasible.
- Have staff members rather than clients hold animals to minimize direct contact between staff and clients, and to limit the number of individuals in examination and other rooms.
- Arrange for contactless patient registration and payment options, if feasible.
- Rearrange workspaces, to the extent feasible, to ensure that individuals maintain six feet or more distance between them wherever possible.
- Provide staff, where feasible, sufficient supplies and equipment (phones, computers, pens, paper, medical equipment) to avoid sharing. If sharing supplies is necessary, then, where feasible, implement a system of one time use and disinfection before re-use.
Adopt Enhanced Office Cleaning and Disinfection
- Allocate sufficient time between appointments to ensure ample periods for appropriate disinfection between provision of services.
- Follow CDC guidelines and clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely, and after each use in accordance with CDC guidelines, particularly in areas that are accessible to staff or other individuals, including restroom facilities, toilet and sink knobs, countertops, door knobs, water fountains, shared medical equipment and other frequently touched surfaces and keep people and animals away until disinfection is completed, consistent with CDC guidance at
- Dispose of any medical waste produced during the care of animals that may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, consistent with CDC guidance at
- Allow all staff to have break time for repeated hand washing throughout the day and after removing PPE.
- Provide supplies for regular hand washing with soap and water, alcohol based hand rub with at least 60 to 95% alcohol or antiseptic hand wash and have staff practice respiratory hygiene (coughing and sneezing) and proper tissue usage etiquettes, and use no-touch receptacles for disposal.
- Remove from any waiting area materials (books, magazines, toys) that are intended to be reused and are difficult to disinfect. All children’s play areas shall be closed.
Establish Rigorous Protections for Staff
- Accommodate telework and work-from-home arrangements to the greatest extent possible, particularly for administrative staff who may be able to work remotely.
- Require staff to stay home if they are sick, and isolate them and send them home if they become sick at work.
- Direct all staff to wear, at a minimum, a cloth face covering within the office, except when doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.
- Require staff to wear PPE, consistent with the level of risk, using professional judgment regarding the potential for exposure and PPE resource constraints, consistent with CDC guidance at
- Optimize the supply of PPE if PPE is in short supply utilizing techniques as recommended in CDC’s Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment at
- Train staff in the proper techniques for donning and doffing PPE and for disposal or laundering of PPE.
Stay Informed About Developments and Obligations; Share Guidance with Patients