NEW JERSEY — A day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on some masking guidelines, New Jersey followed suit, recommending masking in indoor settings where there is an increased risk no matter their vaccination status
Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli recommended Wednesday that people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, are “strongly recommended” to mask up indoors.
Indoor settings considered to have an increased risk include crowded spaces, indoor settings that involve activities with close contact, indoor settings where vaccine status of others is unknown and an area where a person is immunocompromised or at an increased risk for severe disease, Murphy said.
“Our metrics are trending in the wrong direction, and new data suggests the Delta variant is more transmissible even among vaccinated individuals, which is why we are making this strong recommendation.
“Fortunately, our numbers are a fraction of those in many other states, most of which have significantly lower vaccination rates. Should our numbers reach those levels, we reserve the right to take more drastic action, including a statewide mask mandate.
“We have crushed this virus repeatedly like no other state in the nation, and we are proud to boast among the country’s highest vaccination rates. But at this point, given where our metrics are now, we feel the best course of action is to strongly encourage every New Jerseyan, and every visitor to our state, to take personal responsibility and mask up indoors when prudent.
“And we equally encourage every unvaccinated resident or visitor to get vaccinated. The vaccines are proven safe and highly effective, and are the surest way we can end this pandemic,” Murphy and Persichilli said in a joint statement.
The CDC on Tuesday recommended that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.
Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
According to the CDC’s website, New York City, Long Island, and several northern New Jersey counties were considered areas with “substantial” COVID-19 transmission, as of Tuesday afternoon.