The Jack Ciattarelli campaign likes to say Phil Murphy wants to make New Jersey the “California of the east.”
That’s meant as an insult, and as such, never fails to produce horrified groans when Ciattarelli makes the comment at Republican gatherings.
By coincidence, Murphy was asked at today’s briefing about the latest Covid-order emanating from California. That would be requiring all eligible students to be vaccinated.
Any plans to do that in New Jersey?
“I don’t anticipate that we’re going to need that,” Murphy said.
But he added, “It’s an option we leave on the table.”
Politics engulfs everything these days, especially when election day is four weeks from Tuesday.
Conventional wisdom suggests Murphy would be wise to leave that option on the table.
But there are two caveats here.
One is that the governor insists politics does not determine pandemic policy.
The other is that recent polls show strong support for the state’s current mandate of students wearing masks in schools.
Who knows? In a state with a vaccine rate now about 75 percent, a student vaccine mandate may be popular as well.
As for the mask mandate itself, when will it end?
Murphy, as some know, likes to say that the mandate is not forever.
Still, the governor was a bit uncertain about when it would actually end. But he did acknowledge that Covid likely will always be with us.
“We’re not going to hold ourselves to a zero reality,” he said. That presumably means that Covid need not be eradicated for the mandate to end.
Now that October is here, can Thanksgiving be far behind?
The governor was asked about reported CDC recommendations today calling for small, if not virtual, holiday celebrations.
Murphy, who has followed CDC guidelines in the past, seemed surprised at the latest advice.
Knowing that a majority of New Jerseyans are vaccinated, he said, “That’s not coming from me.”
Later, the governor said state regulations would only be draconian if they truly need to be.
And apparently, as of now, there’s no need to be “draconian” about Thanksgiving.