Health

New Jersey will still require masks indoors despite new CDC guidelines

new-jersey-will-still-require-masks-indoors-despite-new-cdc-guidelines

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Phil Murphy, New Jersey Governor, second from left, greets the police sergeant during a tour of the Morris County’s Covid-19 vaccination facility at Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, New Jersey, USA, on Friday, January 8, 2021.

Sarah Blesener | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Friday that the state had maintained its mandate on inner masks despite newly relaxed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC updated its guidelines on Thursday stating that it is safe for fully vaccinated Americans to throw away their masks in most environments, whether indoors or outdoors.

While fully vaccinated New Jersey residents can remove their masks outdoors, Murphy said those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks outdoors when in “close proximity” to others.

The New Jersey outbreak, which peaked in January with a 7-day average of more than 6,000 new cases per day, has since subsided to a daily average of around 500 cases last week.

The announcement comes when other states decide whether to include new CDC guidelines in state policies.

Hawaii Governor David Ige said his state’s mask mandate will remain in effect for anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated, despite the CDC’s new recommendations. Hawaii had its highest 7-day average of about 250 cases per day in late August. There are currently fewer than 90 new cases recorded on average each day.

Texas lifted its mask mandate in March before the CDC announced it by two months. Texas hit a seven-day high averaging more than 23,000 cases in January, just two months before it lifted its mask mandate. In the past week, an average of just over 2,200 new cases were registered each day.

The Texas Department of Health told CNBC that the agency has agreed to the new CDC guidelines and is currently updating its recommendations.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is reviewing its mask work with experts from neighboring states following the new CDC recommendations. New York state reported a high of nearly 17,000 cases averaging seven days in January. A little over 2,000 cases are currently recorded daily.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the move as a “monumental day in the fight against Covid-19” and said the city was reviewing its own guidelines.

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Robert Dunfee