NJ ends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, indoor gathering limits lifted

Coronavirus Update for New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- In New Jersey, things are getting back to normal quicker than some may have expected with several big milestones Friday.

Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation enabling the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency that has been in place since March 9, 2020, and immediately following the signing of the legislation, he signed an Executive Order ending the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Under the legislation, the majority of executive orders issued pursuant to the Public Health Emergency will expire in 30 days.

The legislation, which was negotiated with legislative leadership and sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, allows for the termination of the Public Health Emergency while also allowing the Administration to retain the tools necessary to manage the ongoing threat posed by the pandemic.

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Specifically, the Administration is authorized to issue orders, directives, and waivers under the authority in the Emergency Health Powers Act that are related to vaccination efforts; testing; health resource and personnel allocation; data collection, retention, sharing, and access; coordination of local health departments; and implementation of any CDC recommendations to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

This authority will last until January 11, 2022, and can be extended for 90 days with the passage of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature.

"Today's lifting of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is a clear and decisive step on the path toward normalcy," Murphy said. "The past 15 months have been a challenge, and I thank every New Jerseyan who stayed home, masked up, took precautions to keep this virus in check, and got vaccinated for allowing us to get to this point. I also thank the Senate President and the Speaker for working with us to responsibly end the Public Health Emergency and meet the challenges ahead."

Also as of Friday, with the lifting of limits on indoor gatherings, all COVID-19 capacity restrictions on businesses and private residences having been lifted due to the continued improvement of the state's public health metrics.

That means weddings, funerals, and concerts are all back at 100% capacity, with no social distancing requirement or proof of vaccination needed.

At MetLife Stadium, Monster Jam is the first event to announce its coming back at 100% with no COVID restrictions.

That's set for July 17, with another show in August at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The Meadowlands mass vaccination site is administering the last of its first doses Friday and will close by the end of this month.

In fact, all of the state's mass vaccination sites are closing this summer.

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Murphy says there are still about 1,800 other places to get the shot across the Garden State.

"For the past five months, these sites have been the backbone of our overall vaccination effort as we built out and into every community across the state," Murphy said. "Combined, these sites have delivered nearly two million doses and fully vaccinated more than 954,000 individuals."

Murphy continues to urge everyone to get vaccinated.

Additionally, businesses can let employees work maskless and not socially distance if they are vaccinated starting Friday, although state employees will still be required to wear masks at the office.

Those working remotely can now be called back to the office.

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