The emergence of the omicron variant has led to record-setting COVID-19 cases in New Jersey over the past two weeks. As a result, some local towns have turned to mask mandates to try to stem the tide of positive tests.
Thus far, Gov. Phil Murphy has decided against re-implementing a statewide mandate, and most municipalities have done the same. But several North Jersey cities and towns have taken the initiative and are once again requiring mask-wearing indoors.
Here is a list of the North Jersey towns with mask mandates currently in effect:
Hoboken mask mandate
On Monday, the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management signed an executive order requiring all residents and visitors over the age of 2 to wear masks while indoors in public.
“With cases at an all-time high, we need to revert back to one of the tools that we know works – a face mask," Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in the city's statement.
Newark mask mandate
Mayor Ras Baraka signed an executive order Dec. 20 mandating masks while inside any public buildings, and that bar patrons must be seated and masked unless actively eating or drinking.
The following week he also signed an order requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter many indoor locations including bars, restaurants, sporting events, concerts and more. Residents and visitors will have until Jan. 10 before having to show proof of at least one vaccination dose.
On Tuesday, Mayor André Sayegh signed an executive order requiring masks in all city-operated buildings, including libraries. Paterson's rate of daily positive tests has skyrocketed despite the city's high vaccination rate.
"Since this is rapidly spreading, we have to make sure we take what we can, we do what we must as far as slowing the spread," Sayegh said.
Morristown mask mandate
Citing a spike in new COVID-19 cases, Mayor Timothy Dougherty signed an executive order mandating masks inside all businesses and venues that went into effect on Christmas Eve.
“With cases rising sharply in the last few weeks, it’s important we all do our part to help ease the spread of transmission, which helps to lessen the strain on our hospitals and health care workers," Dougherty said. "Masking up is something we can all do to help our community,”
The Montclair city council passed a resolution on Dec. 21 requiring that masks be worn indoors in public places. The mandate is temporary for now, set to expire toward the end of January. The resolution was passed unanimously.
South Orange mask mandate
On Dec. 21, South Orange village president Sheena Collum announced an indoor mask mandate for "all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in all public facilities and businesses in the Township of South Orange Village."
Maplewood mask mandate
The Maplewood Township Committee unanimously approved a mask mandate for all indoor settings on Dec. 21. The mandate applies to public buildings as well as private businesses.
Ridgewood mask mandate
On Tuesday, Ridgewood Village Manager Heather Mailander instituted a mask mandate for all village buildings, effective Dec. 30. The mandate is for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
Mayor Brian Stack has reinstated an April 2020 mask mandate, which requires all persons 2 years of age and older to wear a face covering while in public and indoors. It is effective immediately and will remain in place until it is rescinded by Stack. The mandate comes with few exceptions, other than indoor commercial spaces that can facilitate social distancing over long periods of time, such as an office with desks oriented six feet apart.
Liam Quinn is a breaking news reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NJ towns bringing back mask mandates as COVID cases rise