Murphy keeps indoor mask mandate, plans emergency power end

| 17 May 2021 | 07:54

Covid-19. (AP) Masks are still required indoors in New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said May 14, but he and the Democrats who control the Legislature said they plan to end the public health emergency granting him vast powers by next month.

Murphy’s announcement that the state will retain an indoor mask requirement because of Covid-19. That butts up against federal guidance from May 13 saying that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks outdoors and in in many indoor situations.

The governor has said that fully vaccinated people can forgo masks outside, but hasn’t lifted an indoor mandate. The governor said it’s “only a matter of time,’’ perhaps weeks, before the mask mandate is lifted in New Jersey.

It’s unclear why Murphy disagrees with the CDC mask guidance for fully vaccinated people.

New Jersey has gone from among the top states with the most cases per capita in the country earlier this year to the bottom half of states with new coronavirus cases. New cases over the past two weeks have fallen by more than 50%, and have been declining at a similar rate for days.

So far about 43% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Murphy has set a goal of vaccinating 70% of adults, or 4.7 million people, by June 30.

New Jersey has tallied 23,234 deaths from Covid-19, according to the state Health Department.