Governor of New Jersey Phill Murphy has signed an executive order Monday easing some Covid-19 requirements. Eventually, it will no longer be necessary for school districts, childcare settings and state contractors to require their unvaccinated workers to undergo routine testing. The change in New Jersey goes into effect immediately for schools and childcare facilities on September 1 for contractors. However, the Governor says those employers can still create their own vaccination or testing policy if they wish so.
In a press release Governor Murphy announced that vaccination efforts and results have been increasing with children aged 6 months or older being eligible for the vaccine. More than 18.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in New Jersey, with more than 1.9 million doses being administered to children under 18, Governor Murphy announced in the release.
The state will also stop testing unvaccinated state government workers at the end of the month, Murphy’s office said. But workers in health care, correctional facilities, and other settings such as nursing homes in the Garden State will still be required to be vaccinated and have at least one booster dose. The vaccine requirements for health care workers and employees in congregant settings are among the last state-imposed COVID-19 restrictions in New Jersey, which had some of the nation’s most stringent protocols to battle the virus. Businesses and schools are still allowed to impose their own rules on masks and social distancing.
Murphy has also implemented the various vaccine mandates last year to help battle a virus that has killed more than 30,000 citizens of New Jersey since March 2020. Employees against vaccination were allowed to opt out by undergoing regular testing for the virus, though the governor later dropped that option for health care workers and employees in congregant settings. Workers who don’t comply with the regulations have risked getting fired.
Both the state and federal governments have gradually scaled back pandemic restrictions over the last year. An estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, according to federal officials. Children 6 months and older became eligible for the vaccine in June.