New Jersey seeks end to COVID-19 public health emergency in June
New Jersey appears poised to end its coronavirus-related public health emergency next month as the state continues to recover and reopen amid the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic leaders in the state legislature said on Friday they were working on legislation that would eliminate the COVID-19 public health emergency in New Jersey while providing the state with the necessary resources to manage its coronavirus vaccination and recovery efforts. If a law is enacted, the public health emergency will expire in June.
Murphy and state lawmakers cited New Jersey’s improved public health indicators to move forward with ending the state’s COVID-19 public health emergency.
New Jersey reported 987 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, a drop of nearly 78% since early April. The state recorded 865 hospitalizations with COVID-19 on Saturday, a drop of 60% since the beginning of April. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations fell below 1,000 last Thursday for the first time in six months.
The state is about 80% of the way toward its goal of having 4.7 million adults fully immunized by the end of June. More than 8.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and more than 3.8 million residents are fully immunized, according to the state.
“After an extremely difficult year, we are seeing the results of our mitigation efforts and our successful immunization program,” said Murphy. “In order to continue on the path to normalcy, we need all available resources to continue our progress in immunizing New Jersey people and finally fending off this pandemic. By working together, we are confident that we can move on to the next phase of our recovery effort. “
“This marks real progress as we strive to come out of the worst public health crisis of our lives,” said Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney (D-Cumberland / Gloucester / Salem). “This is the beginning of the end of a crisis that has tragically claimed the lives of unimaginable numbers in New Jersey and impacted the lives and livelihoods of nearly everyone.
“The worst is behind us, and now is the time to move forward to restore the quality of life for the people of New Jersey. The new normal will not be normal for some time. We need to make the best use of our resources. , our capabilities and our determination to meet the needs of our citizens.
New Jersey’s COVID-19 public health emergency was put in place last March at the start of the pandemic. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, Murphy was required to extend the public health emergency every 30 days to keep it from expiring.
Most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will expire on Wednesday.
New Jersey’s face mask mandate in public indoor spaces is still in effect for fully vaccinated residents, Murphy said on Friday.
But fully immunized residents will no longer need to wear face masks outdoors and at small private gatherings, such as at home with family and friends.
Unvaccinated residents should always wear masks in crowded outdoor environments where social distancing is not possible, Murphy said. Companies always have the right to implement their own mask guide.
The state hopes to lift its indoor mask mandate in public places in the coming weeks, Murphy said.