As new COVID infection rates, hospitalizations and the rate of transmission continue to fall, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced a series of steps to ease pandemic restrictions on businesses, venues and gatherings.

At the same time, the governor is stepping up efforts to convince New Jersey residents who have not been vaccinated to roll up their sleeves and get the shot.

Operation Jersey Summer is being launched to vaccinate 4.7 million Garden State adults by the end of June.

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The state's six mega-sites are now offering walk-in hours every day to make it easier for people to get a vaccine.

Murphy said the megasites will also be used as the center of a “hub and spike model” to move available doses of vaccine directly into neighboring community centers and medical offices.

Murphy said as part of Operation Jersey Summer, vaccination data will be more localized to give local officials and community leaders an idea of how their neighborhoods are measuring up.

“We’re also putting an army of boots on the ground, safely knocking on doors in communities throughout the state," Murphy said. "They will work directly in under-served communities.”

He said the COVID call center is already reaching out to residents who had previously signed up for vaccination information to assist them in getting an appointment for the shot

The governor then said Operation Jersey Summer also involves working with religious leaders across the state.

He said another part of this effort is called "shot and a beer," where people who get vaccinated can get a free beer at a local participating brewery.

Murphy compared Operation Jersey Summer to the types of operations carried out during World War II.

“We want one last huge offensive battle to run this thing into the ground once and for all. Let’s keep it up; keep getting vaccinated," he said. "It’s time to take Berlin and put a stake into the heart of this virus.”

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