Newark keeps indoor mask mandate, relaxes vaccine policy amid falling COVID cases

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Thursday, February 17, 2022
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Chantee Lans reports on the mask and vaccine mandates from Newark.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The mayor of Newark announced Thursday that the city will extend its indoor mask policy, but will end mandatory vaccination to enter certain indoor establishments.

Mayor Ras Baraka announced the extension of the indoor mask mandate through Feb. 28.

The executive order also states that proof of a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required for certain indoor establishments and facilities.

The order also says that events with 250 people or more are required to have attendees provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter.

The announcement comes amid a decline in the COVID-19 transmission rate and cases.

"The data shows that we are making tremendous progress," Baraka said. "Our three-day rolling average for the City of Newark is at 2.5%. We have not been here in a long time. However, we are not at the end of the pandemic, therefore we need to remain vigilant to stay on this path of progress. Continue wearing your masks and get vaccinated, as another form of protection."

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The state of New Jersey has already lifted its mask and vaccine mandates. But Newark is among some cities and towns across the state that adopted its own local requirements

Earlier in the pandemic, the densely populated city experienced higher COVID cases than much of the state.

During a Facebook Live discussion on Wednesday night, Mayor Baraka acknowledged that the city's cases are trending down, as they are across the region.

"We're at 2.44% 7-day, 2.53 3-day. New Jersey's 7-day is at 6.97%," Baraka said. "We can safely say we came down from omicron. We have been going down, we have been doing the right thing, we want to stay there."

Although Newark's COVID cases are trending in the right direction, just 51% of the state residents have received their booster shot.

"People have individual reasons, right? They may not think it's necessary, they may think that they've done their duty, they may not understand why they have to have it, we want to make sure that they're as protected as possible, and that really involves getting that up to date vaccination, which includes the booster for most people," said Dr. Dara Kass, New Jersey Department of Health.

There's now a campaign push by Governor Murphy to get more people boosted in New Jersey.

RELATED | Some Yonkers parents call for end to NY mask mandate for students:

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