Despite CDC guidance, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that the Garden State will still require masks indoors for residents, even those fully vaccinated. Murphy’s announcement takes place a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can ditch masks outdoors and in many situations indoors.
“With all respect to the CDC, we have made extraordinary progress,” Murphy said at a vaccination event with Whoopi Goldberg in East Orange, NJ.
A quick update on yesterday’s @CDCgov guidance: We will keep our indoor mask mandate in place in public settings as we continue to work toward our vaccination goals. To be clear, we’re making incredible progress, but we’re not there yet.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 14, 2021
Murphy noted that this is a temporary situation, saying masks indoors orders could change in the coming weeks. “We have gone in the past month of being the state with the highest per-capita hospitalizations and fatalities. It has dropped over the past couple of weeks 78% on the key metrics.”
As reported by nj.com, Murphy explained how New Jersey has gone from having the highest infection, hospitalization, and death rates in the country last month to seeing numbers drop dramatically over the last couple of weeks.
“We will get there”
“And a big part of that reason is that folks are getting vaccinated and folks are doing the right thing,” he said. “And so as far as we can tell and as much as we want to get there and we will get there, as it relates to indoor masking, it’s only a matter of time, if you’re in a business and a public setting, we’re not there yet. We’re frankly not there yet.”
Murphy did say the CDC’s guidance is “further validation that if you’re vaccinated, you’re in a completely different category” when it comes to wearing masks.
The governor also said vaccinated people can also ditch masks at private gatherings, such as birthday or graduation parties, with friends and family in their bubble.
New Jersey was an early coronavirus hotspot and home to the most COVID-19 deaths per capita in the country. The state has required people to wear masks indoors in public since last April. People have been required to wear masks outside only when social distancing is not possible since July.