Will NJ get back to normal once mask mandate is lifted?
Normalcy returning to New Jersey.
After more than a year of pandemic restrictions, COVID-weary New Jerseyans flocked to the shore this weekend, and it looked like any typical summer weekend. The beaches were packed, the Parkway was jammed and bars and restaurants were filled. There was laughter. There was music. There were few wearing a mask.
New Jersey takes another step toward a return to normalcy this week. After lifting most gathering and capacity restrictions last week, Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce you no longer need to wear a mask indoors, if you are fully vaccinated. That would bring New Jersey in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and leave Hawaii as the only state in the nation with strict mask rules.
However, the issue of proving who is and who is not vaccinated remains. That issue was what led to Murphy's hesitancy in easing mask rules.
There is no uniform method of proving vaccination status in New Jersey. New York state has an app based verification system, but few private business owners have been using it since NY lifted it's mask mandate last week. In New Jersey, its also likely to be on the honor system.
Over the weekend, New Jersey passed 4 million people who are fully vaccinated. More than 8 million total doses of vaccine have been injected since last December. All the metrics continue trending in the right direction. Hospitalizations have dropped to about 700 statewide. The rate of transmission remains well below 1.0. Spot positivity rates have stayed below 3%.
Murphy has said he will allow his public health emergency declaration to expire next month, provided the Legislature extends some of his executive orders.
The Assembly was scheduled to vote on such a bill last week but lawmakers bowed to public pressure and delayed a vote. The current legislation was vague as to what would trigger Murphy's ability to extend, or even expand, restrictions should there be an uptick in COVID-19 metrics. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said they would revise the legislation, and try again for a vote.
More NJ Top News for May 24:
- No arrests in weekend house party shooting in South Jersey.
- Police will except no excuses as they crackdown on seatbelt use in NJ.
- Even before COVID, many NJ families could not afford summer programs for their kids.
- NJ 101.5 hosts first GOP Gubernatorial Debate tomorrow night. You get to ask the questions.
- Another NJ man is charged in last January's Capitol incursion.
- The lack of rain has been good for keeping down the mosquito population in NJ.
- A South Jersey town has had it with abandoned shopping carts. Here is what they are doing about it.
Deadly South Jersey house party shooting