Click through the slideshow above to see New Jersey's masking news and other announcements from Monday's briefing.

Masks no longer will be required indoors in most situations in New Jersey, effective Friday, although masking still will be the rule in schools and for some other areas.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday afternoon announced the rules relaxation as well as the lifting of other rules. But individual businesses and other entities can continue to require customers or guests to wear face masks indoors, he said.

If you want to wear a mask, do so, Murphy urged. 

"If you feel more comfortable wearing your face mask when shopping or waiting for your table at restaurants, by all means you may continue to do so," he said. "We will not tolerate anyone being demeaned or bullied or excluded for wanting to continue to mask up." Murphy said the state would not allow, for example, stores with "mask-free shopping hours."

The details:

  • You'll still need to wear a mask in healthcare settings and long-term-care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, on public transportation or in transit stations, in public-facing state offices such as the Motor Vehicle Commission and in worksites that are closed to the public, including warehousing and manufacturing facilities.
  • Other places you'll still need a mask include child-care centers, youth summer camps and public or private schools.
  • Six feet of social distancing no longer will be required in all indoor and outdoor settings as of this Friday. However, businesses still can require social distancing if they choose. The relaxation of rules includes casinos. For now, three feet of distancing will continue to be practiced in schools, Murphy said.
  • Bars and restaurants may reopen dance floors and patrons no longer must remain seated while ordering or eating and drinking. This is also effective on Friday.
  • All indoor gathering limits will be lifted effective June 4, including the 30% limit on large indoor venues with a fixed seating capacity of 1,000 or more. This change could make way for large meetings and conventions in the state. The lifting of the limits also includes sports venues. If the New Jersey Devils had a game on June 4, they could sell it out, Murphy said.

Noting that New Jersey was the first state to impose a mask requirement, on April 8, 2020, Murphy also said: "These steps when all added together are the clearest signs of our commitment to carefully and deliberately reopening our state after what has been a truly crushing almost 15-month period."