NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey has lifted capacity restrictions on most industries -- including restaurants, gyms, hair salons, casinos, and houses of worship -- but despite an end to the outdoor mask mandate for the fully vaccinated, indoor masking rules remain in effect.
That is because, according to Governor Phil Murphy, not enough of the state has been vaccinated, particularly those in urban areas.
"We are going to be able to take off our masks indoors in the not-so-distant future, as more and more people complete their vaccination courses," he said. "We just can't yet because we need to know unequivocally doing so will not lead to a backslide in our progress. Again, we have this virus on the run thanks to the millions of you out there."
Murphy also said the honor system is not an appropriate way to figure out who is vaccinated.
"We're not checking anyone's vaccine status at the door when you go to the supermarket or to a hardware store for instance," he said. "I don't know how we can expect workers to be able to tell who's vaccinated from who isn't, and it's unfair to put the burden on business owners and front line employees to police every patron."
Businesses still have to enforce social distancing or install barriers.
Critics argue that Murphy is not following the science and that those worried about getting COVID-19 should get vaccinated.
Murphy said earlier this week that all students will be back for full-time and in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year and that the full-time remote learning option for families will be removed.
Summer school programs will not be impacted.
New Jersey also ended its travel restrictions and quarantine rules.
"Continue to follow local health and safety protocols when traveling," Murphy said. "Adhere to international travel guidance from the state department and CDC."
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
Submit a News Tip or Question