TRENTON, NJ – After public outcry and CDC guidance suggesting the unmasking of America and New Jersey, last month, Governor Phil Murphy reluctantly and with some strings attached, allowed the pandemic state of emergency to expire.
One month later, state agencies across New Jersey are still operating under Murphy’s executive order pandemic restrictions.
Reduced in-person services, mandatory face masks at state agencies, workers still not showing up to work over COVID-19 concerns and many agencies still closed…yet everyone is still getting paid.
This week, Murphy was asked about when he’s going to release his last pandemic death grip on those state agencies.
“The state has basically – New Jersey’s basically reopened now, but the state is still acting like the pandemic is in full swing when it comes to our state buildings including this one. All of the reporters in this room are wearing masks. The MVC still closing offices for weeks if anybody tests positive,” NJ 101.5 reporter David Matthau asked Murphy. “The labor offices are not open yet. Courts are still shut down. I’ve been told buying and selling a house is a nightmare because people can’t get the paperwork that they normally are able to get. For state facilities that are open as I just mentioned you’ve got to still wear a mask indoors. When will the state offices reopen? People want the option of talking to a human being face to face instead of doing everything on the phone, and don’t you think the taxpayers have the right to use these services?”
” State offices, nothing – not making news today, but that clearly is not a forever and for always. This will change, and my guess is it’s generally in the sooner than later category. Sue Fulton just weighed in from Motor Vehicles and said they haven’t closed an MVC since May 7th in Eatontown. God willing it will stay that way. I think that your point is a good one. Folks have a level of comfort even if it doesn’t move the needle on the actual – whether it’s an MVC experience or an unemployment benefit claim experience, there is some amount of comfort that we understand completely even if the substance of the interaction does not have any different timing or outcome. I’d say largely in the sooner than later category,” Murphy said.