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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Office of the Governor.)

Murphy announces vaccine and testing mandates for child care workers

School mask mandates also extended to child care facilities

By Joey Fox, September 20 2021 3:35 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced today at his twice-a-week Covid briefing that, beginning on November 1, all employees in the state’s child care facilities must either be fully vaccinated or get tested a minimum of once per week.

The requirement is identical in most respects to many of the state’s previous vaccine and testing mandates, which covered health care workers, state workers, and school employees.

Murphy’s new executive order also affirms that, beginning this Friday, the state’s previously announced school mask mandate will also apply to child care facilities; all employees, visitors, and children over the age of two must wear masks inside the facilities.

“This brings us no joy, trust me,” Murphy said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”

“We appreciate that it may be difficult to keep very young kids in masks for the majority of the day, but we are looking for these settings to provide kids with as much support as necessary to ensure the safest possible environment,” he continued.

Asked why he chose now to enact this policy, when other categories of workers had vaccine and testing mandates announced months ago, Murphy said that his administration is working to gradually add more workers to the pool of vaccine-mandated communities, beginning with the most vulnerable.

“No magic [for why we chose] today on day care, but we had always said that we’d start with the most exposed elements of the workforce, clientele, et cetera, and then expand out from there,” he said. “So we started with health care, we then went to educators and state workers – we’re gonna chop through communities as we see fit.”

Murphy’s previous mask mandates in schools had already proven to be a key issue in the ongoing gubernatorial election, with Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli strongly opposing the mandates. Polling, however, seems to indicate that the state is largely supportive of Murphy’s masking policies.

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