NJ to end indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey is expected to lift its indoor mask rules for fully vaccinated people by the start of Memorial Day weekend.

Governor Phil Murphy will announce Monday that the state will align with CDC recommendations by next Friday, just in time for the holiday weekend, according to sources.

Murphy is visiting a vaccination site in Phillipsburg Friday afternoon, but no announcement is expected at that time.

At his first appearance earlier in the day in Lafayette, Sussex County, Murphy said the state was winning the fight against COVID.

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A teenager walked into a restaurant in Jersey City on Wednesday afternoon with a newborn, handed the baby to a customer and then left.

He said it was the first day under 2% positivity in six or eight months.

"A very good day on the COVID front," he said. "We've got this thing on the run, and we're driving it into the ground, which is exactly where it deserves to be."

The rate of transmission is now under .5, after it was nearly 6 last March.

"Those are two really good numbers," he said. "It will allow us to continue to take steps to open up the state even further."

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 have remained in effect.

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Murphy had previously cited the numbers regarding unvaccinated people, particularly 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 had also said the honor system was 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."

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