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More than 2.5 million people have been fully vaccinated in New Jersey, which puts the Garden State on track to meet its goal of having 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of June. 

Gov. Phil Murphy spoke to PIX11 News about more vaccine eligibility, declining COVID-19 cases and whether or not he plans to rollback restrictions soon. He discussed the state’s gun legislation, police reforms and marijuana sales. 

Declining COVID-19 numbers

After a brief uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, New Jersey is seeing decreasing numbers. 

“It’s baby steps going in the right direction,” Gov. Murphy said.

The governor credited declining cases to a combination of things, including residents continuing to wear face masks and social distance and administering more than 6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Things are starting to go in the right direction,” he said.

Variants vs. vaccine

As more people are eligible for the vaccine, will there be enough supply? 

Gov. Murphy said he remains confident that there is enough supply for New Jerseyans despite the “bump in the road” caused by the pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Murphy also discussed the COVID variants, saying they are “all over our state.” 

Restriction rollbacks

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced he would be lifting all restrictions in the state except for masking. Will New Jersey do the same?

Murphy said New Jersey will if numbers continue to improve, “we’ll open things up step by step.”

Schools and vaccines – 

Rutgers University announced the school would require all in-person students to get vaccinated, and other colleges soon followed. 

Should schools make vaccines mandatory? Gov. Murphy said he believes people should have their own free will, but Rutgers has been a rock during the pandemic, and has commended the school’s administration for their work.

Derek Chauvin trial and NJ’s police reform

As the country awaits the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, discussion on New Jersey’s police reforms continue. 

Are there other reforms in the works? Gov. Murphy said “it’s something we look at almost daily”

“We’re constantly trying to deepen the engagement between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” he said.

NJ has had hundreds, if not thousands of protests, and very few incidents have occurred within them. 

Gun legislation in NJ

Amid a rise in shootings across the nation, Gov. Murphy proposed a package of gun legislation reforms Friday. 

“We have among the strongest gun safety laws in America,” the governor said. 

However, Murphy said strong gun laws need to be passed federally and across the nation. 

“We’re not an island,” he said. “We need national legislation as well.”

Marijuana in NJ

More states have legalized the sale of adult-use marijuana. 

Murphy said the Commission has been set up to oversee the build out of the adult cannabis industry.

Despite the marijuana industry adding jobs and revenue, Murphy said “equity is our driving principle.”

“We’re doing this for social justice,” he said.

Local towns have said they are marijuana sales. Murphy said it will impact revenue and sales at the end of the day, but he will leave that to the commission to decide where dispensaries will get set up.

Survey ranks NJ 48th state in America

New Jersey recently ranked 48th in a poll surveying the country’s most liked states.

Gov. Murphy does not agree. 

“New Jersey is the number one state in America,” he said.

The governor attributed the state to having great quality of life, great health care and being the number one state to raise a family.