New Jersey's indoor mask mandate for vaccinated ends Friday; social distancing rules to be lifted
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state will lift its indoor mask mandate for people vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning on Friday.
The announcement comes about a week after the governor rejected similar mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying he wanted “more time on the clock” for people to get vaccinated.
New Jersey had been an outlier, with neighboring Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania aligning with the CDC soon after its advice came out.
Fully vaccinated people won’t be required to wear masks come Friday. But businesses can still mandate that masks must be warn inside if they so choose. Murphy said that people won’t be required to show proof of vaccinations.
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“We won't have law enforcement checking people's vaccination status, but we are asking people to be responsible, and to do the right thing, for your own safety and the safety of your community,” Murphy said. “To be sure, if you feel more comfortable wearing your face mask when shopping or waiting for your table at a restaurant, by all means, you may continue to do so. No one should mistake lifting the indoor mask mandate as meaning you cannot wear a mask indoors.”
Masks must still be worn inside schools, health care facilities, and state buildings with public access, like Motor Vehicle Commission offices. Employers can also issue mask mandates for employees.
Murphy also said that come Friday, the 6-foot social distancing rule will be lifted, dance floors will be reopened and bars can serve drinks without social distancing at the bar.
The governor asked anyone who has still not received a COVID-19 vaccine shot to do so and encouraged anyone who is unvaccinated to keep wearing a mask indoors.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.