In Brief

Governor Murphy lifts COVID-19 testing requirement in health care centers, jails, and more

By: - April 3, 2023 5:00 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said lifting the COVID-19 testing requirement is a testament to the progress made since the pandemic first hit New Jersey. (Photo by Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)

New Jersey is dropping its COVID-19 testing requirements for workers in health care settings and other congregate care facilities, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. 

The governor signed an executive order lifting one of the last remaining COVID-19-related restrictions the state started implementing more than three years ago when the coronavirus first spread in New Jersey.

Under the new order, unvaccinated workers in nursing homes, correctional facilities, health care centers, group homes and day programs, psychiatrist community homes, rehabilitation centers, and other such locations will no longer be required to take COVID-19 tests.

The mandate was put in place in August 2021 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to increase the vaccination rate statewide, Murphy said at the time. New Jersey did not mandate vaccines for state workers, allowing them to be regularly tested for the virus instead, as often as twice a week. 

The lifting of the testing requirement is effective immediately.

In New Jersey, 78% of residents are fully vaccinated — that number climbs to 95% for residents 65 and up — and nearly 40% have had a booster shot. 

According to state health data, 158 COVID-19 cases and one virus-related death were confirmed Monday. In August 2021, when the testing requirement was put in place, more than 2,000 cases were confirmed daily. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3 million cases have been reported, and 36,000 New Jerseyans have died from the virus.

Murphy lifted other requirements for testing last year. In August, unvaccinated school district employees and child care workers no longer had to undergo regular testing, and in September, the testing requirement was dropped for state employees and state contractors. 

In recent months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has adjusted its guidelines on pandemic safety and risk, emphasizing people should take personal precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19. The agency has shortened quarantine times, stopped recommending testing requirements in schools, and scaled back mask recommendations. 

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to end the national pandemic emergency order, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk. The emergency declaration is set to end in May.

Garden State Republicans are calling for Murphy to lift New Jersey’s state of emergency. Sen. Mike Testa (R-Cumberland) said in a statement the governor needs to recognize the pandemic is over and “give up his emergency powers.”


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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.