NJ Gov. Murphy declares new health emergency to keep mask, vaccine orders in place

TRENTON, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has declared another state health emergency Tuesday in order to try and stop a wave of omicron COVID-19 cases.

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The emergency declaration will let the state keep mandates for educators and health care workers to be vaccinated or be tested regularly.

It would also let the state continue to require masks in schools and day cares.

The governor’s emergency powers were due to expire at the end of the day Tuesday.

“COVID-19 remains a significant threat to our State and we must commit every resource available to beating back the wave caused by the Omicron variant,” said Murphy. “While we hope to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, the step I am taking today is a commonsense measure that will protect the safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents while allowing state government to respond to the continuing threat that COVID-19 poses to our daily lives.”

The emergency lets the state continue COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the collection of COVID-19 data, the ability to implement any applicable COVID recommendations from the CDC, staffing allocation and more.

No new virus-related “restrictions” are part of the order.

The move comes amid disagreements with state legislature on allowing him to extend his emergency powers into the spring.

“Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, the Public Health Emergency will expire after 30 days, unless renewed. State COVID-19 metrics will be re-evaluated at the time of expiration to determine if an extension will be needed,” said Murphy’s office.

The state’s most recent COVID report found over 21,000 cases and 142 deaths statewide. More than 6,000 people are hospitalized due to the virus.