Murphy extends New Jersey’s public health emergency for 30 days

(The Center Square) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is extending the state’s public health emergency for another 30 days.

According to published reports, it marks the 13th extension of the public health emergency, which first went into effect on March 9, 2020. The state’s mask mandate also remains in place.

“Extending this declaration means that we can continue our ongoing [COVID-19] mitigation efforts while also vaccinating New Jersey residents as quickly and safely as possible,” the governor said in a tweet.

Even though the emergency remains effective, at 6 a.m. on Friday the indoor gathering limit increases to 25 people, while the outdoor gathering limit rises to 50 people. Additionally, the indoor capacity limit for restaurants, gyms, health clubs, recreational facilities, arcades and personal care businesses increases to 50%.

Additionally, by September, “it is our complete expectation that every school will be open for full-time in-person instruction” for the 2021-22 school year, the governor said in a tweet.

Of New Jersey’s 811 public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, and schools for students with disabilities, 142 are open for all-person instruction, Murphy said on Twitter. Another 534 are for hybrid, while 98 are all-remote, and 37 use a mix.

However, state Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Totowa, wants the Murphy Administration and the Department of Education (DOE) to release guidance so school districts can start to plan graduation ceremonies.

“For students who graduated high school last year and their parents, not having a graduation ceremony in June really hurt,” Corrado said in a news release. “Our local school districts are eager to do better this year and give the Class of 2021 the graduation experience they deserve.

“Our graduating seniors have missed out on the last year and a half of their high school experience,” Corrado added. “They shouldn’t miss out on their graduation, too. There’s a real hope that we’ll have made enough progress in vaccinations by June that our high school seniors can get the sendoff they deserve. Hopefully the DOE acts quickly and isn’t unnecessarily restrictive when they let us know how commencement ceremonies will be allowed to proceed.”

As of Wednesday, the state reported 21,530 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and 2,515 probable deaths.

As of Wednesday morning, the state had administered more than 3.1 million doses of the vaccine, including more than 2 million first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Nearly 1.1 million New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated.

“Our initial goal is to get 70% of our adult population vaccinated – 4.7 million,” Murphy said in a tweet. “If you count the initial doses of Pfizer and Moderna, along with the number of Johnson & Johnson doses administered, we’re at roughly 45% of our target having received at least the first shot.”