New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy - Photo 130146694 © Laurence Agron |

TRENTON, NJ – The COVID-19 pandemic health emergency in New Jersey is officially and legally over, but Governor Phil Murphy warned residents, “Don’t let your hair down.”

Murphy, after two years of lecturing New Jerseyeans about the dangers of the COVID-19 virus, is now telling residents to enjoy the time with their friends and family, declaring the pandemic as an endemic.

“At his final COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Phil Murphy announced the signing of Executive Order No. 292, which lifts the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in addition to the statewide school and daycare mask mandate, effective on Monday, March 7,” Murphy said in a press release on Friday. “This major step has been made possible by the Murphy Administration’s comprehensive and successful pandemic response efforts. “

“With COVID-19 moving into an endemic, the time has come to move toward normalcy,” said Governor Murphy. “In the past two years, New Jerseyans have shown great strength, resiliency, and kindness during one of the most difficult and trying times in the history of our state. The steps I am taking today have been made possible by our highly-successful vaccination efforts and the collective efforts of the people of our state.”

Still, the governor remains committed to keeping state offices such as the Department of Labor and the Motor Vehicle Commission closed to the general public. Murphy is also not swaying on his vaccine mandate for healthcare professionals and public workers, who now have until April 10th to become fully vaccinated, or they may lose their jobs.

“Conditions have improved in our state–immunity is high, cases have dropped significantly, therapeutics have improved, and testing is rapid and readily available. So, it does make sense to relax restrictions as we learn to live with the virus,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.  “But taking masks off doesn’t mean that other strategies should be abandoned. In fact, they become more important. So, please continue to wash your hands frequently, physically distance, stay home when you’re sick, and get vaccinated and boosted to protect yourselves, your families, your friends, and our children.”

Breaking News
19 Year-Old Shot in Leg in Baltimore

“For nearly two years, New Jersey’s school communities have persevered through countless challenges brought on by COVID-19 – always with the shared goal of protecting the health and safety of our school staff, students, and their families,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “While we recognize this virus has been unpredictable, we look forward to this next milestone in our road ahead.”

Republicans on the other side of the aisle say if Murphy is ending the pandemic emergency, then he should also open those offices and end his forced vaccine mandate for public workers.

“Governor Murphy just said that the time when large-scale mitigation measures were necessary has passed,” said Senator Anthony Bucco. “That’s exactly why the governor should lift his overbearing vaccine mandates for health care workers, nursing home aides, and corrections officers. Nobody should be fired from their job because they want to make their own health care decisions.”

“We’ve heard too many excuses from Governor Murphy for his refusal to reopen all unemployment centers that have been closed for nearly two years,” said New Jersey Senator Ed Durr. “There are thousands of unemployed workers who can’t resolve their claims online or over the phone to get the benefits they’re owed. It seems absurd that we have to pass a resolution to force the Murphy administration to reopen offices to serve the public, but that’s the unfortunate reality of the situation.”