Capacity limits are gone, mask mandates are on their way out but Gov. Phil Murphy left open the possibility that restrictions could return if coronavirus metrics rise again.

"The virus dictates the terms here not us. You have to leave that option on the table," Murphy said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"New Jersey was only state that didn’t lurch forward and then backward on some stop of reopening. Our strong hope is that we don’t have to do that in this case.”

When asked about what school would look like in the fall for students, the governor said he believes students 12 and under will be required to mask up in classrooms with some health protocols still in place.

"Our hope would be that these vaccines, which are in trial for younger kids, come to fruition. They're safe and they work and executed and over time we can pull that back. But too early to tell when that would be," Murphy said.

Pfizer and Moderna are doing clinical trials on its COVID-19 vaccine but that process will take several months

He was not asked about the calls by a growing number of school superintendents who are calling for mask mandates to be lifted, citing high levels among vaccination numbers among teachers. Freehold Superintendent Charles Sampson tweeted there is "time before September to get it right. We certainly owe that to our kids.”

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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