Many New Jersey stores will allow customers inside without masks come Friday

New Jersey’s indoor-mask mandate will be lifted on Friday for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

May 25, 2021, 11:11 PM

Updated 1,065 days ago


New Jersey’s indoor-mask mandate will be lifted on Friday for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And while Gov. Phil Murphy has given businesses the option to still require masks, many are telling customers that it is OK to go maskless.
“We still encourage our customers to wear masks. But we’re not going to tell you you can’t come in if you don’t,” says Stew Leonard’s President and CEO Stew Leonard Jr.
Many businesses seem to be going back toward pre-pandemic life -- some more slowly than others.
"It's just out of respect for the elderly, anyone with medical illnesses, pregnant women,” Leonard says.
A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will still be held at the Stew Leonard’s in Paramus on Friday. While customers won’t have to wear masks, employees still will.
“When Dr. [Anthony] Fauci gave all his recommendations on the different polices to adapt, you know, social distancing and wearing masks, we were super quick – lightning quick – to adapt those things,” Leonard says. “Right now, what we want to do is be very slow to unwind them.”
Many national chains of big box stores, pharmacies and retailers have already dropped the mask mandate in other states. And they're ready to do the same in New Jersey. Wawa says they'll follow state guidelines and let customers be unmasked, although they are asking unvaccinated customers to keep wearing them. Home Depot had initially waited after the CDC announcement on May 13, but later said it would drop its mask requirement. Even pharmacies like CVS will follow suit in New Jersey on Friday.
Target and Walmart have said vaccinated customers won't need to wear masks, but in New Jersey, the unvaccinated are on the honor system.
Murphy said on Monday that the one thing the state won’t get behind is making shoppers or customers take off their masks, whether it’s to get inside or as part of proposed “mask-free” shopping hours.
“That store is going to pay a price for that. And I don’t know what that price looks like, but that’s unacceptable. We have to respect each other here,” Murphy said.
The governor continued to encourage people who are unvaccinated to wear a mask or get the shot.

More from News 12