Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to implement a new statewide mask mandate, but many store chains and private businesses are imposing their own.

Most are requiring them only of employees, for now, but are strongly urging customers to mask up. It's a polarizing issue, and one that has drawn loud protests at events attended by Murphy and even at his home in Middletown over the weekend.

Masks will also likely factor into the campaign for governor. Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli issued statement last week attacking Murphy for mandating masks in schools when classes resume next month.

"Whether a child wears a mask should be decided by parents, not government,” Ciattarelli said. "It’s not something that should be forced on children, nor should their learning be inhibited in any way.”

We are regularly updating the list of major retailers and other chain stores that are requiring masks. So far, only McDonald's and Apple Stores are requiring customers in New Jersey to mask up.

The following stores require masks of all employees and vendors, are recommend customers also wear a face covering:

  • ACME
  • Home Depot
  • Khols
  • Lowe's
  • Marshalls
  • Starbucks
  • T.J. Maxx
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Wawa
  • Wegman's

The CDC now lists every New Jersey county as having a "high" or "substantial" rate of COVID transmission, and says everyone should be masking up indoors regardless of vaccination status.

The highest rates of transmission are in Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties.

The number of new positive tests has hit a three month high, with an average of 1,222 new cases a day. That's a 464% increase from a month ago. Hospitalizations have remained above 600 for three straight days.

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