woman in mask

Vaccinated Residents Must Wait a Little Longer to Go Maskless

New Jerseyans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors if they cannot socially distance in public settings, according to Gov. Phil Murphy, who said the state will not follow new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC website, fully vaccinated people can now resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.

Murphy, who was touring a vaccination event at an East Orange ShopRite this morning alongside actress and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg, said the state has made extraordinary progress this past month, from having the highest per capita hospitalizations and fatalities in the nation to one where key COVID health metrics have dropped 78% over the last few weeks.

“And a big part of the reason is that folks are getting vaccinated, and folks are doing the right thing,” Murphy said, as reported by NJ.com. “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 frankly not there yet.”

That “matter of time” could be just a few weeks, according to the governor.

The CDC decision raises a broad range of issues, including trusting those who haven’t been vaccinated to continue wearing masks. According to the CDC, only 46% of Americans who are 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

While President Joe Biden called the decision “a great milestone,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN that the announcement does not mean the pandemic is over.

“I wouldn’t want to declare victory prematurely, but I’m saying this is clearly a step in the direction we want to go,” Dr. Fauci said.

Connecticut will follow the new CDC recommendations starting May 19, the day when the state, as well as New Jersey, lifts indoor and outdoor business capacity restrictions if social distancing measures are in place. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still reviewing the new CDC guidance.

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