The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week that vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks outdoors or indoors, with some exceptions. While it’s being considered a milestone int he COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey’s mask mandate is staying in place for now.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said . “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

Over 3.7 million New Jerseyans are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. The CDC says research shows the vaccine is effective for those who have taken it to not where masks. Adolescents age 12 and up are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Face covering will still be required on airplanes, trains, public transit, prisons, hospitals and homeless shelters.

The CDC says unvaccinated people are still required to wear face coverings. New Jerseyans who are vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks outside but are urged to continue practicing social distancing. Several businesses are still requiring patrons to where masks.

“I would guess in a matter of weeks we’ll get to the point where we can comfortably say inside, no matter what, you’re OK,” Murphy said last Friday. “As of this moment in time, we’re not there yet.”

Murphy is getting resistance and backlash from several state Republican lawmakers. In a statement, State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said Murphy should follow the CDC’s annocement.

“The CDC has, as a pleasant surprise, acknowledged the now-overwhelming data we have that vaccinated or naturally immune people aren’t getting COVID themselves, or giving it to others. The CDC and the Biden Administration have joined those of us wisely and reasonably calling for an end to mask-wearing and social distancing mandates,” O’Scanlon said. “That the Governor has chosen to ignore this guidance sends the message that he doesn’t believe vaccines work.”

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio says Murphy “has lost all credibility” by not implementing the CDC’s recommendation in New Jersey. Pennacchio said Murphy should lift the mask mandate and social distancing restrictions.

“Governor Murphy promised that he would lift mask and social distancing requirements when the CDC said it was safe. He said science and data would always drive policy,” Pennacchio said. “Despite the CDC saying yesterday there’s no scientific basis or need for vaccinated people to continue wearing masks or social distancing in most situations, Governor Murphy still refuses to eliminate restrictions. He said it could be ‘a matter of weeks’ before he changes the rules in New Jersey.”

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