TRENTON – Masks are no longer required in the Statehouse complex, after the State Capitol Joint Management Commission voted Tuesday to revoke all COVID-related protocols.

Over the past two years, the Statehouse has cycled through a number of access rules – from being closed to the public to requiring everyone to wear masks to conducting temperature screenings and requiring proof of vaccination to enter.

Rather than change the rules again to one with different triggers based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention color-coded community transmission ratings, the protocols have now been dropped.

“We’re going to be at the Statehouse here a little less restrictive than the executive branch,” said Seth Hahn, the commission chairman and executive director of the Assembly Democrats’ office.

“That’s for a couple of reasons,” Hahn said. “There are some larger issues here with enforcement because different areas of the building are under different purviews of presiding officers or State Police. They’re covered by different rules and different constitutional provisions, things like that. And so going from yellow to green and making changes quickly are a little more difficult.

“The other thing is we think that there is sort of a special need for the Statehouse to be as open as possible to members of the public,” he said. “And so, for that reason, the motion today is a repeal of COVID restrictions, and for those reasons we’re trying to err on the side of fewer restrictions.”

The vote was unanimous.

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The change was made a nearly 10-week decline in COVID case numbers since the omicron wave has ended, with New Jersey recording increases in its 7-day average of new cases Monday and again today.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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