Governor Phil Murphy is expected to announce on Monday that New Jersey will drop its indoor mask requirement sometime this week. The Democratic governor lifted the outdoor mask mandate on May 17.
The indoor mask mandate would be repealed on Friday, May 28, NBC 4 reported.
New Jersey was the only tristate area state to keep the mask requirement in place; New York and Connecticut dropped the requirement and lifted indoor capacity restrictions on May 19. Previously, the three states were a united front when it came to making decision regarding coronavirus.
Murphy justified his reluctance by noting that while the CDC said vaccinated individuals are safe without masks, there is no way to determine who is or is not vaccinated, Politico reported.
“While we have made tremendous progress, we are not out of the woods yet. The majority of New Jerseyans are still unvaccinated and we’re not checking anyone’s vaccine status at the door when you go to the supermarket or to a hardware store, for instance,” Murphy said at a press conference. “I don’t know how we can expect workers to tell who is vaccinated from who isn’t — and it is unfair to put the burden on business owners and frontline employees to police every patron.”
New Jersey was one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus, but has since made significant strides. Nearly 70% of the population has received at least one vaccination, and Murphy announced that all schools would open in person in September.
The state’s GOP blasted Murphy’s reluctance to shed the mask requirement, but the state’s unions have urged the Democratic governor to maintain the rule.