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Masks Can Be Taken Off Outside at NJ Camps This Summer

'Masking while outdoors will not be required for either campers or staff,' Gov. Phil Murphy said

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What to Know

  • Children will be permitted to forgo the face masks outside at New Jersey summer camps in 2021.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy made that declaration during his Monday COVID-19 briefing.
  • Unvaccinated campers, which includes all children 11 and younger, should keep the mask handy when indoors.

Children and staff at New Jersey's camps won't need to wear face masks in many outdoor situations this summer. The mask, however, should be kept handy for indoor situations.

During his Monday COVID-19 news briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the New Jersey Department of Health would be releasing new guidance for summer camps on Wednesday. He, however, explained some of the new rules that fall in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

"Masking while outdoors will not be required for either campers or staff," Murphy said.

However, unvaccinated individuals, which includes every camper under 12 -- as they don't have access to a COVID-19 vaccine at this point -- "are still strongly encouraged to mask up" when participating in crowded situations or close activities, the first-term Democrat said.

Masks were already not to be required when in the pool or doing other water activities.

Campers and staff, however, will need to keep the masks handy.

"While indoors, unvaccinated campers will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask while any unvaccinated staffers will be required to wear masks with only limited exception," the state said in new guidance it posted online Sunday. "Additional details will be posted in the coming days."

Children using the bus to get to and from camp will likely still need to wear masks to stay inline with CDC guidance for public transportation.

Hygiene, screening and admittance standards will be in place for camps. Overnight campers and staff will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving to camp, according to state guidance posted online.

Parents and guardians should be sure to review the coronavirus policy at their child's camp prior to the start of summer.

New Jersey has eased and eliminated most of its coronavirus orders and masking mandates in recent weeks as daily cases remain low and the state gets closer to Murphy's goal of getting 4.7 million adults fully vaccinated by the end of June.

The virus, however, does continue to spread at a slower rate.

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