Governor Eliminates Restrictions, Removes Masking and Distancing Requirements, Encourages Vaccinations
The positive news resulting from widespread vaccinations continues to arrive. There is much to report to you.
Governor Murphy Announces Significant Changes to Existing Restrictions, Lifting Many in Time for Memorial Day
We share with you communication from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education:
May 25, 2021
Governor Murphy yesterday signed Executive Order No. 242, lifting major COVID-19 restrictions and moving forward with New Jersey's most significant reopening steps to date. Effective this Friday, May 28, the indoor mask mandate in most indoor public spaces will be lifted, as well as the six-foot social distancing requirement in most indoor and outdoor spaces. Effective Friday, June 4, indoor gathering limits and capacity limits for large indoor venues will be lifted.
Over the last two weeks, key COVID-19 benchmarks have been achieved across New Jersey, including a dramatic increase in vaccinations, and significant decreases in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, spot positivity rates, and rates of transmission, solidifying the foundation for the state's sweeping reopening steps.
Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, individuals who are not fully vaccinated – defined as two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccination (Johnson & Johnson) – are strongly encouraged to continue masking and social distancing.
EO No. 242 Eliminates Social Distance Requirements
Importantly, EO No. 242 eliminated social distance requirements for higher education, specifically noting:
Degree-granting public and private institutions of higher education are not required to implement policies to provide for social distancing in classrooms, residence halls, restrooms, and other areas across campus. Executive Order No. 155 (2020) is hereby superseded to the extent it conflicts with the provisions of this Order.
Murphy Clarifies Workplace Mask Expectations
Despite the significant loosening of several restrictions through EO No. 242, mask wearing indoors at certain workplaces remained in effect. The following day, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 243 which states that, effective at 6:00 a.m. ET on Friday, June 4, 2021:
...employers, as defined in Executive Order No. 192 (2020), in workplaces that are not open to the public per Executive Order No. 242 (2021) are not mandated to require employees to wear face masks or social distance at the worksite where the employee provides proof that they are fully vaccinated, as defined by the CDC, and in accordance with federal and State law. Where an employer is unable to determine the individual's vaccination status or the individual is not fully vaccinated, employers must continue to require those employees to wear masks and practice social distancing in indoor spaces...
This is extremely encouraging news and another sign of the importance of getting vaccinated. It also provides the pathway to the primarily in-person environment being planned for the fall semester at all three campuses.
In the coming days you will begin seeing the effects of these orders, as we update signage and the Seton Hall Pledge, reinforce the value of being vaccinated, and prepare for the full in-person return of employees in July and arrival of students afterward.
University Vaccination Levels
Governor Murphy noted that he made these decisions partly due to the high vaccination levels (approximately 60%) among the state's adult population with a goal of having 70% fully vaccinated by June 30. Through the recently-released Confidential Vaccine Declaration the University is gaining a clear picture of vaccination levels across its populations. As of May 26, 2021:
Notice of the declaration requirement was sent to 13,000 individuals. 74.7% of the recipients responded. Approximately sixty percent (60.6%) report being fully vaccinated. Almost eleven percent (10.4%) report having received the first of two injections. Almost seventeen percent (16.9%) plan to get vaccinated. Twelve percent (12.1%) report they will be seeking an exemption. We will continue to update you on the declaration. Please remember it is imperative and required that you complete the declaration. Thank you to all who have already done so.
Articles and News of Interest
- Murphy ditches mask mandates, ends many COVID-19 restrictions
- New Jersey COVID-19 Business Information
- Governor Murphy Announces Lifting of Major COVID-19 Restrictions, Moves Forward with Most Significant Reopening Steps to Date
- Governor Murphy Announces Updated Guidance for Businesses, Non-Profits, and Indoor Workplaces
Shawna Cooper-Gibson, Ed.D.
Vice President of Student Services
Vice President of University Relations
Co-chairs, Health Intervention and Communication Team
Categories: Health and Medicine