Why Is New Jersey Still Under a Covid-19 State of Emergency?

Senator Michael Testa and Senator Anthony M. Bucco issued the following response after Governor Murphy lifted COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care employees but didn’t end New Jersey’s pandemic state of emergency.

“I’m glad to see certain vaccine restrictions coming to an end, but it is utterly inexcusable that Governor Murphy hasn’t ended the pandemic state of emergency. The rest of the country has acknowledged that the pandemic is over, why can’t we?” questioned Testa (R-01). “The Murphy administration’s delayed reaction in lifting vaccine requirements for healthcare workers exacerbated staffing shortages that have plagued hospitals and healthcare facilities in New Jersey. It is time for Governor Murphy to give up his emergency powers so we can address these challenges and put an end to all unnecessary COVID-19 directives once and for all.”

Governor Murphy recently signed an Executive Order that lifts COVID-19 vaccination requirements for healthcare professionals in New Jersey but kept the pandemic state of emergency intact.

The national public health emergency ended on May 11, 2023, after the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was no longer a global threat.

New Jersey Senate Republicans have repeatedly called on Governor Murphy to end the COVID-19 state of emergency, which gives the Murphy administration broad authority to spend billions of federal funds and enact unjust vaccine mandates with hardly any transparency or oversight.

Governor Murphy’s vaccine mandates punished thousands of healthcare workers who refused vaccinations during the pandemic. This contributed to a significant staffing shortage in the healthcare industry which experts predict will worsen as vacancy rates continue to rise.

“Vaccine restrictions had a major impact on the healthcare industry’s ability to attract nurses to fill staffing positions. While ending vaccine requirements for healthcare workers is certainly the right thing to do, prolonging Governor Murphy’s unilateral authority by Executive Order must end,” said Bucco (R-25). “The pandemic is over and therefore New Jersey’s state of emergency should end as well. It is time for Governor Murphy to relinquish his emergency powers and work with the legislature to reinstate healthcare workers who were sidelined by vaccine mandates during the pandemic.”

Senator’s Testa and Bucco sponsor several pieces of legislation that would bolster employment in the healthcare industry and prohibit future COVID-19 vaccination mandates:

S-3267 (Senator Testa) – Prohibits COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students attending public schools.
S-3202 (Senator Testa) – Prohibits institutions of higher education from requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccination.
S-592 (Senator Testa) – Prohibits State from requiring private businesses to confirm individuals received COVID-19 vaccine for entry.
S-3121 (Senator Bucco) – Establishes a program to identify, recruit, and train unemployed individuals to bolster employment in the healthcare industry.

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