New Jersey

Masks Can Come Off Outdoors in NJ, but Must Still Be Worn Indoors in Public

Gov. Phil Murphy is also calling on all New Jersey schools to be in-person full-time next fall

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What to Know

  • Face masks being worn indoors in public remain part of daily life in New Jersey.
  • Outdoors, however, face masks can be removed.
  • "We’re very close to defeating this pandemic," Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. "With every shot, we get closer. Every time you put your mask on when walking indoors, we get closer. Keep it up, and we’ll get there even quicker."

With New Jersey continuing to slowly near its COVID-19 vaccine goal and with the coronavirus still slowly spreading, face masks must still be part of daily life, despite recent CDC guidance.

On Monday, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he is lifting masking at all outdoor public places immediately.

Indoor spaces, however, are another story.

Masks Must Still Be Worn Indoors in Public, for Now

On Monday, Murphy reiterated that masks must still be worn by all people indoors in public places, despite recent CDC guidance about fully vaccinated people being able to remove their masks in many public situations.

The CDC guidance leaves it up to states and municipalities to set their own rules. Neighboring Pennsylvania has gone along with the CDC guidance and shed masking rules in most places, but Philadelphia hasn't.

Murphy defended his decision saying that the state has a little bit further to go in stopping COVID-19.

"We’re very close to defeating this pandemic," Murphy said. "With every shot, we get closer. Every time you put your mask on when walking indoors, we get closer. Keep it up, and we’ll get there even quicker."

Murphy noted that despite 3.9 million people being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 that more people need to get there. He set a goal of 4.7 million adults getting inoculated by the end of June, but vaccine doses have been slowing.

"The majority of New Jerseyans are still unvaccinated, and keeping this mandate in place in public settings protects you, your family, essential workers, and our entire community," Murphy said.

Nearly 500 new COVID cases were reported Monday and 13 new coronavirus-related deaths, the numbers are much lower than peak levels, but still higher than state health officials would like.

Murphy wouldn't put a timetable on when the indoor mask mandate could lift.

"Keep up with wearing our masks indoors for just a little bit longer," Murphy said.

New Jersey Schools Will Be Back in Person This Fall

On Monday, Murphy announced that his executive order that allowed for remote instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic will expire at the end of the current school year.

Murphy said he has spoken to teachers and others about the call for full-time in-person instruction at schools for every school this fall.

Masking for next school year isn't known at this point, but the CDC is suggesting masks continue next school year.

The CDC released guidelines on Friday recommending that K-12 schools continue to require face masks for the 2021-2022 school year.

The End of the COVID Travel Advisory

People can now travel freely to other states as COVID cases continue to decline.

This means no more quarantining is needed when traveling to or from certain places.

The Final Extension of the Public Health Emergency?

On Monday, Murphy said he hoped that his recent extension of the public health emergency dating back to last March would be his last.

He said that he is working with lawmakers on legislation that would allow for the needed resources to battle the pandemic to continue.

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