Murphy finally lifts some COVID and vax requirements in NJ
🔴 Some vaccine and COVID testing requirements have been lifted
🔴 Private employers can continue to require vaccines for employees
🔴 Murphy refuses to lift general state of emergency in NJ
Gov. Phil Murphy has lifted COVID-19 testing requirements for health care and congregate settings, but the governor has left the general state of emergency related to COVID in place.
Murphy signed a new executive order on Monday that does away with COVID testing requirements for employees working in health care settings or congregate facilities.
The vaccination requirement for congregate workers has also been lifted, but remains in place for all healthcare settings.
"With vaccines and treatments available to help combat the effects of this virus and our state maintaining lower rates of key metrics, New Jersey can continue to take steps to responsibly lift COVID-19 mitigation protocols," Murphy said in statement.
The New Jersey Department of Health reports over 20 million primary and booster doses have been administered in New Jersey and more than 8 million residents have received at least one vaccine dose.
According to a news release from the governor's office, a congregate setting includes: correctional facilities, group homes and day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and certain licensed psychiatric community homes.
Individual employers are still permitted to impose their own vaccination and testing requirements.
Despite changes in the vaccine and testing requirements, Murphy is still refusing to lift the general state of emergency related to COVID that was declared on March 9, 2020.
Murphy lifted New Jersey's specific public health emergency was terminated in 2021
Last week, Republican State Senator Mike Testa demanded Murphy lift the general state of emergency as well.
"New Jersey's ongoing state of emergency gives the governor and state departments the authority to keep unnecessary directives in place, and it allows the governor to continue spending billions in federal relief funds with almost no transparency or oversight,” Testa said.
He noted the state of emergency also the Murphy administration "to circumvent the Legislature and diminish our constitutional authority as a co-equal branch of government."
The U.S. Senate approved ending the federal pandemic emergency in a bipartisan 68-23 vote. The Biden administration has indicated the president would sign the joint resolution, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Previous reporting from David Matthau was included in this story.