Murphy again declares a COVID public health emergency in NJ

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today restored a public health emergency, allowing its administration to continue to rely on various orders and directives, including a school mask warrant, which would otherwise have expired at midnight tonight.

The public health emergency declared at the onset of the pandemic in 2020 was repeatedly extended before expiring last July, as part of a deal with the legislature that extended some of Murphy’s pandemic powers until today.

Murphy asked for a 90-day extension to those powers, but lawmakers ultimately did not agree to extend them, in part because Murphy indicated on Monday that the mask’s mandate would continue, even though it was not part of the resolution before the legislature. .

“COVID-19 remains a significant threat to our state and we must commit all available resources to push back the wave caused by the omicron variant,” Murphy said. “While we hope to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, the step I take today is common sense step that will protect the safety and well-being of all residents of New Jersey while allowing the government state to respond to the continuing threat COVID-19 poses to our daily lives. “

Murphy said the statement was made “in consultation with the legislature.”

He said the public health emergency means the state “will continue to rely on a solid foundation of science and fact, not politics and conspiracies, to keep your family and your family safe. community by getting ahead of omicron and staying there “.

“This does not mean new warrants or universal passports. It does not mean blockages. This does not mean any commercial restriction or collection limit. It doesn’t mean going back on the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months, ”said Murphy. “In fact, in your everyday life, this step will have no new impact.

Senator Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said Murphy “takes a giant step backwards in re-establishing a new public health emergency.” He said Republican lawmakers had not been consulted and it does not appear Democrats were either.

“Governor Murphy’s decision both circumvents legislative oversight and breaks his deal with his own party leadership,” Bucco said. “We need to give people hope that life is returning to normal, not one man rule by decree.”

The new public health emergency will also allow the state to continue its vaccine and testing efforts, which were also not included in the bill scuttled at the end of the recently expired legislative session.

Public health emergencies expire after 30 days, unless renewed. Murphy’s office said the state’s COVID-19 measures will be reassessed at that time to determine whether an extension will be necessary.

Michael Symons is the State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at [email protected].

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