NJ Lifts Mask Mandate and Social Distancing Requirements

New Jersey, which was the first state in the nation to put an indoor masking requirement in place on April 8, 2020, will be lifting that statewide indoor mask mandate via executive order on Friday, May 28, Gov. Phil Murphy said today.

Additionally, the state’s current requirement for maintaining six feet of social distance in all indoor and outdoor settings will also be lifted on May 28.

This includes restaurants, retail spaces, personal care businesses, gyms, recreational and entertainment businesses such as casinos, religious services, weddings, political activities, funerals and memorial services, and performances.

Murphy added that individual businesses and other entities, which oversee indoor spaces may continue to require that employees and customers/guests wear facemasks or maintain six feet of distance if they so choose.

Dance floors in bars and restaurants will also be allowed to reopen, and the requirement that individuals remain seated when eating or drinking will be lifted – both of which will also go into effect on May 28.

“We are proud of the fact that we have always been guided by the science, the data, and the facts. The actions we are taking today are true to that,” Murphy said.

Referencing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Murphy said that there are several places that will still require masking, including: 

  • Healthcare settings and long-term care facilities

  • Correctional facilities

  • Homeless shelters

  • On an airplane, bus or train, or other forms of public transit

  • In airports, bus, and train stations, and other transit hubs

  • Public facing state offices, (ex. Motor Vehicle Commission agencies)

  • Worksites that are closed to the public, including warehousing and manufacturing facilities

Additionally, Murphy said that the executive order lifting the mask mandate will not extend to childcare centers and facilities; youth summer camps; public, private and parochial preschool program premises and elementary and secondary schools including charter and renaissance schools.

“Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, and while we have made good progress with the age 12-15 year cohort, they have only been eligible for less than two weeks. For these younger populations, we are just not there yet,” the governor said.

He also urged those who choose not to be vaccinated to follow CDC guidance and continue wearing a face covering in indoor public settings.

“We won’t have law enforcement checking people’s vaccination status, but we are asking people to be responsible,” Murphy said.

Indoor Gathering Limits Gone on June 4

Additionally, Murphy said that on June 4, all indoor gathering limits will be lifted, as well as the 30% limit on large indoor venues with a fixed seating capacity of 1,000+ persons.

“These steps when all added together are the clearest signs of our commitment to carefully and deliberately reopening our state after what has been a truly crushing almost 15-month period,” Murphy said.

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