NJ Top News 5/18 – Wearing a Mask is Like Pumping Your Own Gas in NJ
More retailers let customers ditch the mask, but not in New Jersey.
New Jersey has a lot of quirky laws and regulations you wont find anywhere else. It's illegal to pump your own gas, slurp your soup, or eat pickles on Sunday in the city of Trenton.
We may soon be one of the only states that still require you to wear a mask inside a store or business. Even as New York and Pennsylvania announced the lifting of their indoor mask mandates, Gov. Phil Murphy still refuses to follow CDC guidelines. Murphy gave no timeline, but said that the indoor masking rule will not be "forever and always."
Meanwhile, the list of businesses that are dropping their indoor mask mandates continues to grow — although their rules don't supersede state mandates.
- CVS and Target announced Monday they would no longer require customers to wear a mask while shopping.
- Target says employees who are fully vaccinated will also be allowed to ditch the mask.
- Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, Trader Joe's Starbucks, Home Depot and Publix supermarkets announced an end to their mask rules almost immediately after the CDC said masking up indoors was no longer necessary.
- Kohl's department store also dropped their mask requirement for shoppers Monday, but said in a statement, "We will continue to strongly recommend that non-vaccinated customers and associates wear masks in our stores."
None of the retailers and businesses that have lifted their mask requirements have said they will require proof of vaccination.
Not all businesses have been quick to end their mask policies. Apple stores were still requiring them on Monday. Walgreens says they are still evaluating data from the CDC. Uber and Lyft say their mask policies are still in effect for drivers and passengers.
In a statement to USA Today, Uber said, "We continue to ask that riders and drivers wear a mask over their nose and mouth during the entire trip and that riders sit in the back seat." Uber noted drivers can still cancel a trip if a passenger refuses to wear a mask.
The Biden administration has left it up to individual states to decide on public health restrictions to combat the pandemic, including mask rules. The absence of a uniform national policy, however, has led to confusion and wide disparities over what you can and cannot do from town to town and state to state.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association warned of ambiguity as retailers try to comply with state and local orders. It could also lead to increasing frustration for the public weary of wearing masks and unsure of what the rules are.
For now ditching the mask is just like pumping your own gas. You can do it in Pennsylvania and New York, but not in New Jersey.
More NJ Top News for May 18, 2021:
- Just as crews get containment on the Ocean County forest fire, another sparked up in Burlington.
- As PA and NY lift mask mandate, Murphy refuses to do the same.
- Target and CVS join growing list of retailers who will allow you inside without a mask (but not in NJ)
- All NJ kids will be in classrooms this September....maybe.
- Adolescents driving vaccination rates in NJ after eligibility was expanded.
- Mom who stabbed her 7-year-old old to death had recently stopped taking meds.
- A NJ man can sue a vet hospital for beheading his cat.
- Black bears are looking for love, and that could increase bear sightings in NJ.
- NJ shore businesses are hoping for a great summer.
- South Jersey youth sports league needs help replacing stolen equipment.