Administrative Order and Notice of Rule Adoption Pursuant To P.L. 2020, C. 18, dated June 18, 2020, was just sent to all veterinary licensees from the Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.

The Rule sets forth provisions to be implemented by veterinarians in their practices to minimize exposure to and spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) amongst veterinary staff and clients.  The Rule is effective immediately and will expire “concurrent with the end of the state of emergency or the public health emergency declared pursuant to Executive Order No. 103 (EO 103), whichever is later.”

As set forth in the rule, the “COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements for Veterinary Practice” include 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 Rules encourage the use of telemedicine, the use of curbside drop-offs, contactless collection of information about patient health and issues, and the use of face coverings and other preventive measures as recommended by CDC and other governmental agencies, amongst other precautionary measures.

The Rules also require veterinarians to remain current about the testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2, which is still not broadly recommended, but can be conducted upon approval of state animal health officials where appropriate.  Records of COVID-19 infections in staff are required to be recorded and provided to the State Department of Health “if requested,” but it is unclear whether this requirement would violate the privacy rights of staff.