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New Jersey Lifting Indoor Mask Mandate This Friday, Gov. Murphy Says

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey will lift its indoor mask mandate Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

People across the state are breathing a sigh of relief heading into Memorial Day Weekend, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

"It's a lot of fun to be able to walk around and smell things again," said Mike Dalzell, from Lambertville.

"I'm happy we are at that point. It's about time," said Marta Petrocelli from Long Branch.

Businesses hoping for a busy holiday weekend along the Jersey Shore are hopeful it's a sign that things are finally turning around.

"Come wear a mask, don't wear a mask. Whatever you want," said Amy Gregorin, manager at Molly & Zoe.

Watch: Gov. Murphy Announces Indoor Mask Mandate Will Be Lifted Friday

Murphy's executive order lifting the indoor masking rule means fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter restaurants and stores without a face covering.

"However, even with this action, individual businesses and other entities which oversee indoor spaces may continue to require that their employees and customers or guests wear face masks," Murphy said. "We ask that you be respectful in adhering to these requirements where they do apply."

The state's 6-foot social distancing rule will also be lifted. Those not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks.

"We won't have law enforcement checking people's vaccination status, but we are asking people to be responsible and to do the right thing, for your own safety and the safety of your community," Murphy said.

The majority of store owners CBS2 spoke with Monday said they will drop the mask requirement since most of their employees are vaccinated. Business owners also told CBS2 they would make accommodations for customers who request they wear masks.

At Winz Market, owner Zach Winzelberg said he lost customers because of how strictly he was enforcing the governor's policy.

"We've seen a tremendous amount of blowback. Myself, my wife, my staff was constantly harassed. We've had to call the police on people," Winzelberg told Fan. "We've seen numerous fights, we've had to ask people to leave because there's such pushback against the masks in the area."


Even though businesses are easing restrictions, shoppers said they still have reservations about unmasking completely.

"Not thrilled, because we believe that the people who chose not to get the vaccine are going to be the same ones who chose not to wear a mask indoors and are not going to be honest about what their choice is," said one shopper.

"Until the whole world takes it off, then I'll wear it," said another.

New Jersey will join New York and Connecticut, which adopted the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines last week.

People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear their masks in most settings, with some exceptions, including schools, health care facilities and public transportation.

CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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