Murphy To Lift Indoor Mask Mandate (In Most Places)

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New Jersey will no longer require people to wear masks at most, but not all, public places.

Caitlyn Kowalski and Sam Renz

On Monday, May 24, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he will be lifting the indoor mask mandate on Friday, May 28, with a few exceptions. New Jersey will no longer require people to wear masks at most, but not all, public places. Unvaccinated people are still strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, though the state won’t require you to prove your vaccination status and will instead rely on the honor system. Note, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Murphy said in his latest COVID-19 briefing that “we are asking people to be responsible and to do the right thing — for your own safety and that of your community”. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, and for the first time since April 2020, the state won’t require that people must wear masks at places like restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and gyms.

Face coverings will still be required on public transportation, in schools, in child care facilities, at summer camps, in healthcare centers, and inside state offices open to the public, such as the Motor Vehicle Commission sites. With the mandate being lifted, businesses are allowed to still require their employees and customers to wear masks if they choose.

Additionally, Murphy has announced that New Jersey will eliminate state-wide requirements that restaurants, stores, personal services, gyms, churches, and casinos require 6-foot distancing between patrons and groups starting Friday — also in time for Memorial Day weekend. That includes large outdoor venues like MetLife Stadium and minor league baseball parks.

New Jersey has the most Coronavirus deaths per capita among American states, largely driven by the early days of the pandemic when the virus spread rapidly through the region. Murphy has noted that the state is not yet “out of the woods” with the pandemic but stated, “we are in a meaningfully, dramatically different and better place.”