By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
SOUTH JERSEY — During an interview with News 12 New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy expressed his cautiously-optimistic belief that New Jerseyans should expect “a much more normal summer” this year.
“Last summer got reasonably normal, but I’ll tell you — assuming we can keep these variants under control and we all continue to do the right thing, I think we’re going to be able to gradually open this place up,” Gov. Murphy, who also said that the state could be “in a whole different ballgame” this summer, said. “I know millions will be vaccinated. I’m looking forward to Memorial Day.”
Although the governor didn’t specify what “a much more normal summer” looks like, Gov. Murphy doesn’t think 2021’s Memorial Day Weekend will be similar to pre-pandemic celebrations. New Jersey also isn’t expected to lift any of its mask mandates anytime soon — even for outdoor events and gatherings — as Gov. Murphy reiterated New Jersey’s need to keep its guard up and continue to take precautions against the pandemic.
“Without any emotion about this, I’m begging people: We’re still in the thick of this,” the governor said. “Please, when you’re inside, respect social distances and keep your face covering on. Trust me. That’s the right thing for yourself, your friends, your family, and ultimately for the state and our ability to open things up and get rid of the darn mask mandate at some point.”
As of Thursday morning, New Jersey’s COVID-19 dashboard reported that the state has administered a total of 4,300,375 doses of the vaccine models. Of those, 1,608,433 residents are fully vaccinated against the pandemic after receiving their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna’s models or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson model. The state has consistently managed to administer 500,000 doses of the vaccine per week for the past month.
Gov. Murphy also reaffirmed the state’s desire to make all adults eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. At this time, slightly fewer than 22% of New Jersey’s 6.9 million adults are fully vaccinated. New Jersey initially set a goal of vaccinating 70% of its adult population — or approximately 4.7 million people — by the beginning of summer.
The state’s high rate of vaccinations combined with an expected increase of supply in the future will allow New Jersey residents to, as Gov. Murphy put it, “let our hair down a little bit.”
“A lot more people will be vaccinated. I still think we’re going to have to be careful — while we’re indoors especially,” he said. “But can loved ones get together again and see their families? … I think [this summer]’s going to be a lot more normal than not.”
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