Gov. Phil Murphy plans to move forward on an in-person inauguration on January 18, but with stringent safety protocols, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Sources have said that Murphy is affirmatively moving forward on an inaugural ball, but not in January. Instead, Murphy will hold that event in the spring or the summer.
It’s not clear what the safety measures would be, but it could be consistent with the new statehouse policy that requires individuals to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering.
The governor’s team has not announced details of his inauguration. Previous inaugural ceremonies have been held at the War Memorial in Trenton and often preceded by an interfaith prayer service.
The War Memorial is under the jurisdiction of the executive, and not the State Capitol Joint Management Commission.
The New Jersey State Assembly is set to reorganize on January 11 at the War Memorial, when fourteen newly-elected Assembly members will take the oath for the first time. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin plans to abide by any health protocol policies required by the executive branch, the NJ Globe has learned.
Murphy will become the first Democrat to take the oath for a second term since Brendan Byrne did it in January 1978. He broke a 44-year losing streak when he defeated Republican Jack Ciattarelli by three percentage points last month.
Sheila Oliver will become the state’s first two-term lieutenant governor.
The coronavirus pandemic will almost certainly diminish any time of extravaganza related to Murphy’s second term.
Four years ago, “The Phil Murphy Inaugural Experience” – that’s what it was called – began six days before he took office with prayer services at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, a kickoff at the Newark Museum hosted by the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties, and stops by Murphy and Oliver in Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, North Bergen, Paramus, Elizabeth, and Metuchen.
On the Sunday before he took office, Murphy took part in a wreath laying ceremony at a veterans ceremony in Wildwood, followed by a Kids’ Interactive Inaugural at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium, and an inaugural concert at Middlesex Community College. The Murphy/Oliver Team participated in a community service day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Inauguration Day began with a prayer service at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton and ended inside an “engineered-for-winter” tent on the field of the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.