On November 2, 2020, the Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in New Jersey issued DCA Administrative Order No. 2020-20, ordering,
“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 to: (1) avoid person-to-person contact with animal owners/clients (hereinafter “clients”); (2) facilitate social distancing within the office; (3) adopt enhanced office cleaning and disinfection; (4) establish rigorous protections for staff; and (5) stay informed about related developments and obligations.
The Order, encourages veterinarians to use telemedicine “to the greatest extent possible to triage patients and prioritize urgent visits.” Curbside drop offs, which have been used by veterinarians since the start of the pandemic, continue to be recommended to minimize client-staff exposures. Veterinarians have been deemed essential employees in New Jersey even during the State shutdown.
The bulk of the additional guidance in the Order is consistent with other public health guidance, including distancing, proper use of PPE, sanitation and cleaning, guidance to staff and clients about their health and avoiding exposure if they symptoms of illness, etc.
Of course, veterinarians are very familiar with infectious disease and relevant prevention and control, so I am certain they will be able to conduct business safely and continue to provide excellent care to their patients, and comfort to their clients.