TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has returned from a nearly two-week-long vacation at his private $7.3 million villa in Italy. Before departing, Murphy announced a school mask mandate that sent many parents in New Jersey in circles over his sudden reversal in policy.
Weeks before announcing face mask mandates in K-12 schools in New Jersey, Murphy promised the state that each local school district would decide its own fate.
After being pressed from the NJEA, the state’s large and powerful teachers union, Murphy changed his policy and announced a face mask requirement.
Now, Murphy insiders are talking about forced vaccinations for New Jersey school teachers, a measure the NJEA fully supports, but as of now, it’s too late to get unvaccinated teachers fully vaccinated before the start of the school year.
“NJEA strongly supports and has publicly promoted vaccination for all eligible individuals. We ran ads last spring featuring our members talking about the importance of vaccination. Vaccination is the best tool we have to better protect our schools and communities,” NJEA spokesman Steven Baker said in a statement to The New York Post.
So, what’s next for Governor Murphy and New Jersey?
Vaccination requirements for first responders, cops, firemen, EMS workers
As the delta variant of COVID-19 returns, Murphy is also expected to increase vaccination mandates to other sectors, possibly, first responders, including police, fire, and ems workers.
Vax Passes and exclusion of unvaccinated from crowded events and spaces
Murphy has also been pushing in the direction of a vaccination passport or a vaccination requirement for restaurants such as the policy put in place by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. Although Murphy said in recent months he would not implement a vaccination pass that would exclude the unvaccinated, he does not oppose private businesses implementing such rules.
Indoor Face Mask Mandate
As long as the rate of transmission is over 1, Phil Murphy has his pandemic powers back by an act of the Democrat majority legislature in New Jersey. Phil Murphy is danger close to bringing back his indoor face mask mandate as delta variant cases continue to rise.
Murphy has repeatedly said he will use all of the tools and powers at his disposal to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, even if that means shutting down all non-essential businesses again. Although many in New Jersey opposed Murphy’s overreaching executive orders in 2020, he remains popular with many New Jersey voters. He currently has a nearly 20% lead over his opponent Jack Ciattarelli. If Murphy is looking to solidify his progressive base for November, many of those in that base wouldn’t mind the governor shutting down business in the state if the end result is viewed as defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Murphy is expected to put in place travel restrictions on executive-level employees of the state government.
Politico reported Murphy has already squashed out-of-state travel for high-level members of his cabinet, although he just spent two weeks in a country with a very high COVID-19 infection rate himself.
What scares most New Jerseyans is that when he returns from Italy, he will tell residents of the state they may not travel out of state.
Mandatory Vaccinations for all residents
If he could find a way to legally do it without violating personal and constitutional rights, Murphy would force every resident of New Jersey to have a COVID-19 vaccination. Instead, Murphy is slowly chipping away at the population by mandating vaccination for segments of the population one at a time.
First, it was health care workers, then teachers. Next, it could be first responders, then members of the National Guard. From there, Murphy can expand it to any business that provides group youth instruction such as sports league coaches, dance school teachers, pre-school staff.
From there, he can force another business lockdown and mandate that all indoor workers must be vaccinated before they return to work.
While the prospect of Murphy implementing a statewide mandate is slim, short of an executive decision by President Joe Biden, Murphy can slowly chip away at the entire population of the state citing other health concerns while not directly implementing an in-your-face mandate.
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