Most New Jerseyans celebrated when Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the mask mandates for those who are fully vaccinated. This was, of course, a later response than most states, but with this Governor, we’ll take what we can get. Many of us enjoyed a mask-less Memorial Day weekend across New Jersey. But a lot of people were confused.

Since much of the COVID-19-fearing public are still wearing masks, sometimes you walk into a store and you see that it’s only you and a couple of others whose faces are mask free. Most employees are still required to wear masks and you don’t question that. But you can swear this store doesn’t require them of shoppers who are vaccinated and yet most people are breezing down the aisles happily breathing through cotton or paper or spandex.

You ask yourself, “Am I right? Or are they right?“ It is kind of confusing since some stores that have lifted mandates have not yet removed signage from the front of their doors.

And even if you are fully vaccinated and walk into a store without a mask, there are still those wearing masks who will give you a dirty look—even though you’re not doing anything wrong. I heard of a report this weekend in a local Target where most people were wearing masks. A customer walked around to the unmasked asking each one “Are you vaccinated?“ That lady is very lucky that I was not there that day.

Get our free mobile app

On the other hand, Marshall’s shoppers may have noticed masks still required at all of their stores. Some people say they’re not enforcing these rules so it’s best check the website.

Wake fern, the parent company of Shop Rite says, according to AARP.com at this time, we will continue to keep all of our COVID-19 protocols in place,” apparently talking about mask wearing, adding that they ask for “patience, continued cooperation and ask that all of our customers treat each other with respect while we work through these changes in guidance.”

The only thing that you can do is look into updated info from these corporations to see what their policy is, since things can be changing, and changing rapidly. But as of this writing, these stores are still requiring masks of all shoppers, vaccinated or not. Either that, or they’ve not yet changed the verbiage on their websites. Check out each of the stores before you go into one unmasked to see if they have changed their policies.

  • JCPenney
  • TJ Maxx
  • Sierra
  • Home Sense
  • Marshalls
  • Home Goods
  • Giant Eagle
  • McDonald's
  • Apple Stores
  • Ross
  • Rite Aid
  • BJ's (Optical Departments)
  • Bed, Bath, and Beyond
  • Shop Rite

NJ's most and least COVID vaccinated towns, by county

New Jersey reported just short of 4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 statewide, heading into the last week of May. So how does that break down across all 21 counties?

And, how can some communities show a vaccination rate of more than 100%, according to state data? Reasons include people who have moved, those who are traveling and not residing at home where the census counted them, students who may select their school residence for vaccination data and people in long-term care (or other facility-based housing) among other reasons, as explained in a footnote on the state COVID dashboard.