Source: ShoreBeat Online
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order which lifts the public health emergency that had been declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic nearly two years ago. However he has left in place a general state of emergency that will continue to allow for some regulations, waivers and mandates to be maintained.
The most prominent and visible change will come in the state’s schools, where students will be able to freely learn without being masked — or kept home entirely — for the first time in two years.
The order marks an end to mask mandates in school buildings and school buses, among some other emergency regulations that had been in place. Murphy also held what was his final daily pandemic press briefing Friday. The order will take effect Monday, March 7.
“With COVID-19 moving into an endemic, the time has come to move toward normalcy,” said Murphy. “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 general state of emergency order has no sunset, meaning, theoretically, it could remain in place in with no end date. This order, however, remains in place for the purpose of coordinating vaccine and waiver policies for health providers as well as to allow the state to collect federal relief dollars should they be made available.
“For nearly two years, New Jersey’s school communities have persevered through countless challenges brought on by Covid-19 — always with the shared goal of protecting the health and safety of our school staff, students, and their families,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education.
“While we recognize this virus has been unpredictable, we look forward to this next milestone in our road ahead.”
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reports that as of March 8, 2022, New Jersey has totals of 2,176,633 Covid cases and 33,050 fatalities, and 7-day averages of 966 new cases and 656 hospitalizations. The fully-vaccinated rate of the population is at 76.39 percent.