By: Brie Wells
Update on the Covid Restrictions
As the anniversary of the Covid 19 pandemic rounds the corner, many Americans are questioning what the future will look like as vaccine rollout continues across the United States and covid regulations relax. With vaccine rollout expanding to child care workers, transportation workers, and additional public safety workers in the state of New Jersey as of March 15th, many wonder when the state can continue to reopen and students can start going back to school. According to New Jersey Covid 19 Informational Hub, New Jersey is in Stage 2 of Governor Murphy’s reopening plan. In stage 2 moderate risk activities are allowed to restart and all New Jerseyans are advised to wear a face covering and to participate in social distancing. New Jerseyans are also advised to work from home if it is feasible to do so. Since June 15th, 2020 relaxation of restrictions has been declared from the governor’s office, with the newest being announced March 19th, 2021, which states that the limit on general indoor gatherings increases to 25 people and increases the limit to general outdoor gatherings to 50 people according to Executive Order 225.
With the relaxation of restrictions continuing, many are questioning if Governor Murphy will take the lead of other states and radically lessen Covid 19 restrictions. On March 2, 2021, the Texas Governor, Gregg Abott, issued Executive Order (GA-34), which lifted the mask mandate in Texas and increased the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. Similarly, in Mississippi, Governor Tates issued Executive Order 1549 on March 3rd, 2021 in which the mask mandate would be lifted in Mississippi. Other states such as Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut also continue to lift restrictions on restaurants and other businesses as vaccine rollout continues. According to the CDC Covid Data tracker, 127 million vaccines have been administered in the United States and the amount of Covid 19 cases have been decreasing generally in the past nine weeks. Although Covid 19 cases are generally declining, the CDC has advised against the rapid relaxation of restrictions in states like Texas and Mississippi. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said in a briefing on March 3rd,2021 that “We at the CDC have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions.” She also went on to state that “The next month or two is really pivotal with how this pandemic goes as we scale up vaccinations, we really do need to decrease the amount of the virus that is circulating as we are trying to vaccinate all of the public.”
Seemingly Governor Murphy is following in the footsteps of the CDC and other states as he remains cautionary about reopening. In an interview with CNN, Governor Murphy stated “My guess is we won’t be opening up further capacities for some time now because of the caseload.” He then went on to say “We are back to leading the nation in the spread of this virus…” and, “We want to do this safely, responsibly, we don’t want to ever have to go back.” At this time New Jerseyans can expect restrictions to stay in place and should continue to hope that with more vaccine rollout and stricter control of variants within the Garden State, that it will hopefully lead to the arrival of Stage 3 on the road back to normalcy.
As the summer approaches Covid 19 vaccination rates continue to increase across the United States. According to the CDC, as of June 3rd, 2021 169,090,262 doses of the vaccine have been given out in the United States. In the state of New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Health 8,755,436 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the State of New Jersey and the rates will continue to increase as the Governor continues to push New Jerseyans to get vaccinated. As vaccination rates increase and mask mandates restrictions relax, New Jersyeans can expect the arrival of Stage 3 of Governor Murphy’s Covid 19 Relief plan to be near in the distant future.