Murphy: Private-sector companies can make vaccination requirement for employment

While making vaccination into requirement for health care workers, governor says private-sector employers can do the same

Gov. Phil Murphy did not say Monday that the state would require workers to be vaccinated or face the loss of employment — but he did say private employers were OK to make that decision on their own.

While announcing that workers at certain state and private health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times per week, Murphy indicated companies are free to take the same steps.

“Private-sector employers are equally and fully empowered to work on a more ambitious timeline — or to require either a more rigorous testing regime or eliminate that option completely and require all employees to be vaccinated as a matter of their continued employment,” he said.

Murphy, speaking at his now-weekly COVID-19 briefing, hinted that more restrictions may be coming. He said he has been in contact with unions regarding rules involving public workers.

He also said those in health care facilities could see more restrictions or mandates, too.

“To be clear — this standard is the absolute floor,” he said. “We are reviewing all available resources to set aggressive testing standards as quickly as possible in the state’s high-risk settings. And, to be clear, we retain the ability and authority to go further if we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates within this worker population.”

Murphy said the new mandates come for two reasons:

  • The Delta variant is proving to be highly contagious and is the caused of increased numbers in New Jersey and around the country;
  • All statistics continue to show COVID-19 has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated — and that getting vaccinated is the best defense against the virus.

“While reaching our statewide vaccination goal has so far dampened the impact of the Delta variant in New Jersey, some of our most vulnerable populations remain at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 primarily due to exposure to unvaccinated individuals,” he said.