This week Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 239 easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions effective May 19. He announced that adolescents between the age of 12 and 16 are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations based on CDC’s emergency approval of Pfizer; that the COVID-19 dashboard has been updated to include a mapping tool showing the percentages of adults in each municipality who have received their first doses as well as percentages for those who are now fully vaccinated; and that the FEMA Community Vaccination Center in Newark will hold walk-in vaccinations daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Yesterday the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, State, or local rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidelines. Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health are reviewing the new CDC guidance on masking requirements. Masks are still required in New Jersey for indoor settings and outdoor settings when social distancing is not possible.
COVID Data for May 14, 2021:
- 766 new positive cases for a total of 882,199 confirmed cases
- 12 new confirmed deaths for a total of 23,284 confirmed deaths
- The rate of transmission is at 0.84
- 1,263 cases linked to 281 school outbreaks since August 2020
- 7,873,861 vaccine doses have been administered, including 4,539,066 who have received at least one dose and 3,619,714 who are fully vaccinated. 54% are Pfizer, 42% Moderna, and 4% J&J.
Since the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved Pfizer’s emergency use authorization application to vaccinate adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15, anyone over the age of 12 who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has created a webpage for parents on adolescent and teen vaccinations. Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced that the State is notifying providers that they can immediately move forward with administering Pfizer to those between the age of 12 and 15. The Commissioner encouraged all parents and guardians to speak with their pediatricians or healthcare providers if they have questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
Governor Murphy noted that Walgreens, which has been working with multiple school districts across the state to vaccinate students ages 16 and over, will be ready to transition to vaccinating those from 12 to 16 upon CDC approval.
All six of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine mega-sites continue to offer walk-in vaccinations. No appointments are needed to get vaccinated and mega-sites vaccinations are not limited to the residents of host counties. The FEMA Vaccination Center in Newark will offer walk-in vaccinations every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while the remaining five mega-sites have set aside certain hours for walk-in vaccinations.
This week the State has begun its door-to-door canvassing campaign to encourage vaccinations. The Governor noted that “…we kicked off an $8 million effort to put even more boots on the ground in the communities where we need more people to go out and get vaccinated. This is in addition to the hundreds of incredible local volunteers already working hard in their neighborhoods. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure as many New Jerseyans as possible are vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
As a reminder, homebound residents who have not yet connected with their local health department or a home health agency and who need an in-home vaccination should visit www. covid19.nj.gov/HomeboundVax or contact the call center. The Department of Health will follow up with them to assist in connecting them with a vaccine provider.
The State hotline, 855-568-0545, continues to assist residents, with live agents from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., in getting information on how to schedule vaccine appointments. The agents remind residents that there is no out-of-pocket expense to get vaccinated and that the two vaccines are not interchangeable. The State continues to encourage the general public to pre-register for eligibility for the vaccine online. Individuals will be permitted to input their personal, contact, health insurance, and demographic information.
Executive Order 239: Implementing the second phase of easing of restrictions. Effective May 19 outdoor gathering limits are removed; indoor gatherings limits in private residence raised to 50 people; commercial gatherings and gatherings operated by an overseeing entity in public space limit to 250 people; indoor and outdoor businesses capacity limits removed; capacity limits for houses of worship removed; large indoor venue capacity increases to 30% capacity limit; and prohibition on indoor interstate youth sports competitions are removed.
NJ Department of Health Guidance
Earlier this week the Department of Health issued the following guidance of interest:
Guidance for Sports Activity
Health and Safety Standards for Indoor Dining
Health and Safety Standards for Outdoor Dining
Pool and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards
Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers
Health and Safety Standards for Indoor and Outdoor High-Touch Amusement & Recreation Activities
Shot and a Beer Vaccine Incentive Program
In partnership with the Brewer's Guild of New Jersey, the State has launched the "Shot and a Beer" program to encourage eligible residents 21 and older to get vaccinated. Any resident who gets their first vaccine dose in the month of May and takes their vaccination card to a participating brewery as proof of vaccination will receive a free beer, courtesy of the participating brewery. This program will end on May 31, 2021.
The Department of Labor announced for the week ending May 7 the initial weekly unemployment claims were 13,389. This was a slight decrease from the previous week.