The Honorable Phil Murphy
Office of Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
We are writing to applaud your announcement that NJ will maintain an indoor masking mandate despite the new CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people could go without face coverings and social distancing. As representatives of the healthcare community, we support your choosing caution, as the CDC prematurely recommended that our nation return to normal.
The CDC guidance on indoor activities of any size without a mask or social distancing, gives the public the go ahead to return to normal at a time when our nation needs to establish guidelines and benchmarks that lead us to a return to normal. The facts do not lie and the reality is that our state is still in a public health emergency and the COVID pandemic is not over.
As you and your administration have repeatedly said over the last year, by wearing a mask you are protecting others. By masking, we are protecting those with compromised immune systems and children, and those who cannot be vaccinated because either the vaccine is contraindicated for them or because they run the risk of experiencing a severe reaction.
By announcing that it is safe to unmask for the vaccinated, we putting others at risk. We know there are some who have not been vaccinated and are waiting for an announcement such as this. They are the knuckleheads you’ve repeatedly referred to in your press conferences and they will, as we’ve seen, throw caution to the wind. We can’t take that risk.
We urge you, Governor to not be swayed by public pressure, but rather continue to be guided by medical and social science. What behavioral scientists understand in our culture is that our peers influence how we behave. If everyone around a person is wearing a mask and distancing, it is likely that person will also mask. If many, or even most people, are without masks, others will follow suit.
We urge you to continue to establish benchmarks based on vaccination rates, numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and setting parameters that continue to keep the most vulnerable and those most likely to have severe symptoms to be safe. We need the data and clear guidance, not a blanket statement that can lead to another surge.
Now is simply not the time to let down our guard. We applaud you, Governor Murphy for continuously making health and safety a top priority.
Debbie White, RN
Barbara Rosen, RN
HPAE First Vice President
Alexis Rean-Walker, BS