ANGUS MORDANT (Bloomberg News)
Over the past year, we have all been fantasizing about the final stages of the pandemic. While vaccinating the whole population will be a long and strenuous journey, over a quarter of New Jersey’s population is already vaccinated, leaving an element of confusion about what this means for their restrictions moving forward. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has already released specific guidelines to follow once a person is completely vaccinated. They specified that a person is not considered entirely vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (And, if you don’t know how to be vaccinated, check out this link: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/where-how-and-when-can-i-get-vaccinated)
Once you have been vaccinated, the CDC says you can travel without having to test before or after, you can travel domestically without having to quarantine yourself, and you can spend time with few other fully vaccinated people without masks. However, large indoor gatherings or large unmasked events are still not recommended. The CDC says that when going into public places, vaccinated individuals should still stay masked to protect those around them. They still recommend staying masked and socially distant when interacting with high-risk individuals. To learn more, look at the CDC Website for vaccinated individuals.
In the private sphere, the CDC has opened up its recommended restrictions, but what about that free feeling we are looking for and hoping to find in a vaccinated world? International travel to much of the country has been open, with few quarantine requirements. If you are vaccinated, going to Hawaii will be a relaxing journey and includes skipping any quarantine restrictions. When traveling to Hawaii, you will receive a code that will allow you to travel between islands without any restrictions. Other tropical islands are open for travel and without quarantine. Belize is allowing outside tourists without a test if they have the government-approved vaccine, and even many European countries are open to fully vaccinated travelers. If you have received the vaccine, you can travel to Estonia, Romania, Slovenia, and others that have opened up their borders for travel with proof of vaccination. Popular vacation destinations like Thailand are allowing non-Thai citizens to travel to the country, and without the mandatory 16-day quarantine if proof of vaccination is provided. It seems that the moment of finally feeling free from COVID can be found overseas.
The mask mandate has been lifted in New Jersey, while private businesses and schools can still require masks to be worn, in most places, there are no masks required. Enjoying meals, exercise, sightseeing, and other activities can now be enjoyed mask-free according to the CDC. The process of getting the population vaccinated is going to feel like a long one, but the end game is closer than it seems.
Recently colleges and universities have announced that they are requiring their students to be vaccinated to attend next fall. Others have provided incentives for their students to become vaccinated like small amounts of money off of tuition. In New Jersey schools like Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson, Kean University, and Rutgers University are all requiring their students to be vaccinated.
As of June 1st, just over 41% of the New Jersey population is vaccinated and 50% of the whole country is vaccinated.