Concern about COVID continues to drop in New Jersey, according to a just-released poll.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute said the newest Monmouth University survey finds “34% of the state supports bringing back mask mandates and social distancing guidelines, 64% are opposed to that."

“If we go back just a few months ago that was more than 6 in 10 who actually supported bringing those back," he said.

Murray pointed out that support for re-instituting COVID guidelines has declined among every partisan group, but the largest drop has occurred among Democrats – from 89% who supported these measures in September to 50% who back them now.

A split on mandating workplace vaccines

He said the poll also finds 45% of respondents support requiring proof of COVID vaccination at work, while 52% oppose it, but there’s a big partisan divide on this issue.

— 72% of Democrats versus  17% of Republicans think there should be some sort of vaccine mandate in the workplace.

Protestors Rally At Connecticut State Capitol Against COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Order
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— 23% are concerned about a family member getting very ill from COVID. That’s down from about 4 in 10 who felt that way back in the fall, and 6 in 10 when the pandemic started.

I think I've had it

He noted about half of respondents indicated they either have had the virus or suspect they had it at some point during the pandemic, and that may one main reason why concern is going down.

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He said when people were asked about booster shots “we found that 59% report that they’ve gotten a booster shot right now, that’s higher than what we found nationally, just 24% say that they’re not at all likely to get a booster shot.”

He noted 46% of Republicans say they’re not at all likely to get a booster, compared to 8% of Democrats.

Big support for Murphy

Murray said when Jersey residents were asked how Gov. Murphy has handled the pandemic “he’s getting 67% who say he’s done a good job, and that was an issue that we saw last year when he was running for reelection.”

He pointed out “the pandemic has been the one area where the governor has consistently gotten positive ratings.

While 2 out of 3 state residents approve of his handling the health crisis, 25% say he’s done a bad job.

The poll also finds 53% of respondents believe Jersey has done a better job than other states in dealing with the pandemic, 14% say it has done worse, and 31% believe Jersey has been about the same as other states.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31 to April 4 with 802 New Jersey adults. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: