TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has lifted the mask mandate, but on Monday he said, it’s not a license to be a knucklehead.
“I must once again caution that this pandemic is not over. This virus is on the run,” Murphy siad. “There’s no question about it. It is not defeated. We cannot let up in our efforts until we win this race and end this pandemic. Lifting the mask mandate is not a license to be a knucklehead. Lifting the mask mandate simply acknowledged how far we’ve come together and that together we will cross the finish line.”
Murphy touted his COVID-19 response during the pandemic despite New Jersey having the highest per-capita death rate in the entire United States. He also took credit for New Jersey being the first state to implement a mandatory mask order…and last to lift it.
“I am proud that we are the rare example of a state that didn’t have to put our residents or businesses through a merry-go-round of lockdown to reopening to lockdown to reopening. We’ve never acted because of politics. We’ve never told any story other than the one our numbers told,” he added. “We’ve only moved in one direction, forward. Because of the work of millions of you who continue to mask up and social distance and to get vaccinated in truly nation-leading numbers, we can now take these steps, which I think are by far the most significant.”
Murphy said his decisions during the pandemic were not based on politics, but science…which science, many in the state are still wondering as the governor often implemented rules that did not make any sense, such as having to wear a mask while walking in a restaurant, but not having to wear one the moment you sat down at your table while indoors.
Another questionable act of science was when Murphy close restaurant bar service after one single bar staff contracted COVID. Later, it was determined the spread was not at the bar, but at an off-site party and no patrons were affected. That ban lasted until May of this year.
Finally, while bragging the he followed science through the pandemic, last week, he balked at the science based directive of the CDC advising fully vaccinated Americans to unmask.
He justified his decision, despite back peddling days later.
“When they did masking, particularly when you’ve got then – neighboring states have got the – all the states in the neighborhood between, I think, the 19th and the 31st of May are all following CDC guidance, you then have the reality where you run the risk that everybody who’s going out to dinner who doesn’t want to wear a mask or shopping, doesn’t want to wear a mask, is going to be going across the Delaware or the Hudson,” he said. “That reality then gets put into play, but as a public health matter – I defer to Judy and Tina on this, but we also knew immediately that with each passing day given the way the curves were headed, the CALI scores, rate of transmission, positivities, we would pick up – we haven’t said this in a long time, but we were saying this last spring and summer. Any amount of days you can put on the clock allows you to further drive down the virus numbers, and at the same time, it allows us to drive up the vaccination numbers.”