”We’re not there yet,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a published report Thursday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new COVID-19 guidelines that end the need for fully vaccinated people to wear masks.
“If you are in a business or a public setting, we are not there yet,” according to a report from New Jersey 101.5 radio news. ”Think about the hardware store employee, the essential worker, retail in a ShopRite. Putting the burden on them to try and distinguish who’s vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated.”
On Friday, Murphy said he was extending the state of emergency New Jersey has been under since March 2020 for one ”last time” so the state Legislature can enact laws and rules that allow a return to ”normal” while enabling his office to still have ”necessary tools to manage the ongoing threat to public health, as well as recovery and vaccination efforts.”
In neighboring New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the new CDC guidance is ”under review,” but said nothing about when that state’s mask mandate might end.
”In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening,” Cuomo said in a New York Post story Thursday. ”We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with [Health Commissioner] Dr. [Howard] Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states.”
Both states were among those hit hardest by the pandemic, with about 53,000 deaths in New York and almost 26,000 deaths in New Jersey, according to the CDC.
President Joe Biden announced the new CDC guidance in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon.
“Today is a great day for America and our long battle with coronavirus,” he said in a story from NPR. “It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.”
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can resume activities as they did before the pandemic hit last year, with some exceptions.
”Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” the agency said on its website.
Those who have not been fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks and social distancing until they get it.
People are considered ”fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks after getting the Johnson & Johnson single dose,” according to the CDC.
Many red states such as Florida and Texas ended their mask mandates weeks ago as transmission rates for the virus have declined.
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