Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday, January 11 reinstated a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately, in order to ensure that the state is able to respond to the continued threat of COVID-19 and the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
Executive Order No. 280 declares a Public Health Emergency and restates the existing State of Emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist the State’s healthcare system and affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.
“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 Governor Murphy, adding that the “omicron tsunami” has been “washing across the state”.
The Public Health Emergency will allow the state to continue vaccine distribution, vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings, the collection of COVID-19 data, implementation of any applicable recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent or limit the transmission of COVID-19, staffing and resource allocation, and other critical components of the State’s COVID-19 response. The new Public Health Emergency will allow for existing orders requiring masking in school and daycare settings to remain in effect.
“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,” Murphy added.
Governor Murphy’s public health emergency declaration also empowers all State agencies to take all appropriate steps to continue to address the public health hazard resulting from new variants of COVID-19.
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.
New Jersey was recording 35,000 new coronavirus cases a day with more than 10,000 current hospitalizations.
Murphy assured residents that there are no plans of issuing a lockdown mandate.
“It does not mean going backward from any of the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months. In fact, in your day-to-day life, this step won’t have any new impact at all,” he said.