What was originally intended to last for just 30 days, this past Tuesday, the Montclair Town Council officially extended the indoor mask mandate. The mandate was set to expire tomorrow, January 21st. Citizens will now be required to wear a mask indoors up until March 31st. However, the council has also agreed that if cases wane by February that they have the option to rescind the mask mandate order.
The mandate was reintroduced to the town in December after a long mask-less summer. The significant spike in covid cases brought on a heavy wave of warnings and cautions, among them the mask mandate. Since then all businesses and venues open to the public must require both staff and visitors to be wearing a mask that covers both their nose and mouth and remain 6 feet apart at all times.
Exemptions to the mandate include children who are under two years old, people with disabilities who are unable to wear a mask, and people who would be put at risk for wearing a mask at work. Those who are eating or drinking inside a restaurant are also exempt from having to wear one unless they get up from their table.
Concluding the town hall meeting on the 18th, Montclair has decided to add two new exemptions to the list. They are as follows:
Those who participate in any form of indoor athletic activity where 6 feet of distance is unachievable are exempt from having to wear a mask as it would be considered "inhibitory to the activity."
Performers at indoor live events that include theater, symphony, opera, or choirs are allowed to remove their masks to perform or practice yet heavy emphasis on maintaining a 6 feet distance from one another is highly encourage and enforced.
According to official state data, 93% of Montclair residents have received at least one dose of the covid vaccine and almost 80% are considered fully vaccinated. These statistics go to show that fully vaccinated citizens are still not enough in completely curbing the spike in COVID-19 cases.
This past month has not yet seen a significant enough decrease in cases to fully rescind that mask mandate. Just this past Wednesday, New Jersey has seen 145 covid deaths and another 8,467 confirmed positive COVID tests. However there may still be a light at the end of the tunnel for NJ residents as this data shows that this marks the fifth straight day in a row that the average has been below 20,000 after peaking at 27,914 on Jan. 10.