(The Center Square) – The public health emergency in New Jersey is formally over.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 292 to lift the COVID-19 public health emergency and end the statewide mask mandate in schools and daycare. The emergency ends Monday, March 7.
“With COVID-19 moving into an endemic, the time has come to move toward normalcy,” Murphy said in a statement. “In the past two years, New Jerseyans have shown great strength, resiliency, and kindness during one of the most difficult and trying times in the history of our state. The steps I am taking today have been made possible by our highly-successful vaccination efforts and the collective efforts of the people of our state.”
The new executive order keeps in place a previous one, No. 290, which Murphy signed last week to give workers in health-care facilities and high-risk congregate settings more time to meet the fully vaccinated requirement.
The order mandates that covered health-care workers obtain their COVID-19 booster by April 11 or within three weeks of eligibility. Workers in high-risk congregate care settings have until May 11 to submit proof they have received the vaccination and booster shot, and those who are eligible for a booster after May 11 have three weeks after their eligibility date to receive it.
Before a formal announcement from the governor, state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, R-Boonton, expressed concern Murphy would not lift vaccine mandates as part of ending New Jersey’s public health emergency.
“Governor Murphy just said that the time when large-scale mitigation measures were necessary has passed,” Bucco said in a statement. “That’s exactly why the governor should lift his overbearing vaccine mandates for health-care workers, nursing home aides, and corrections officers. Nobody should be fired from their job because they want to make their own health-care decisions.”