NJ to end indoor mask mandate next week as shore gears up for Memorial Day weekend

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Saturday, May 22, 2021
People ready to hit the beach as Memorial Day weekend approaches
Lots of people are ready to hit the beach this weekend, getting ready for Memorial Day.

NEW JERSEY (WPVI) -- New Jersey is expected to lift its indoor mask rules for fully vaccinated people by the start of Memorial Day weekend.

Governor Phil Murphy will announce Monday that the state will align with CDC recommendations by Friday, May 28 - just in time for the holiday, sources tell WABC-TV.

At an appearance earlier today in Lafayette, Sussex County, Murphy said the state was winning the fight against COVID.

He said it was the first day under 2% positivity in six or eight months.

"A very good day on the COVID front," he said. "We've got this thing on the run, and we're driving it into the ground, which is exactly where it deserves to be."

Trish Hartman talks to Capt. Chuck LaBarre with the Margate Beach Patrol about beach safety.

We found people in New Jersey who are ready to go without a mask, even inside.

"If you're vaccinated, if you feel comfortable without wearing a mask, then I think you can go without wearing a mask," said Melissa Mabil of Atlantic City, N.J.

But we found some who say it's too soon.

"I'm vaccinated but I would feel much safer if I knew that everybody was required to wear a mask when they're indoors, when they're shopping," said Jim Meyer of Margate, N.J.

This comes ahead of a weekend where big crowds are expected at the Jersey shore.

"Not too hot, not too cold, it's beautiful," said Erica Doyle of Haddon Heights, who spent the day on the beach with her daughter and friends.

While warm temperatures may draw people to the ocean, lifeguards are not on duty in many beach towns until Memorial Day weekend, and swimming is discouraged.

RELATED: AC beach patrol issues warning after recent rescues involving children

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Video captured a recent ocean rescue involving children at the Jersey shore. Beach patrol officials are issuing this dire warning ahead of the holiday weekend.

"If you're not familiar with the ocean and you're a novice ocean bather, stay out of the ocean," said Capt. Chuck LaBarre of Margate Beach Patrol.

Another concern officials have is keeping people away from structures on the beach.

Things like drainage pipes, rocks and piers may seem fun to climb on, but lifeguards say it's extremely dangerous even to swim near them.

"There's a lot of underlying issues with the topography of the sand, the ocean currents and the wave action around it, and you're just asking for more problems," said LaBarre.

We talked to parents who say they're keeping a close watch.

"We just keep an eye on them and drag them in every time we see them going out," said Doyle.

11-year-old Vivian Kramp of Havertown likes to swim in the ocean when it's a little warmer.

Her dad says even when the lifeguards are on duty, he's nearby.

"You always have to be watching right? And then a lot of the times one of us will just be in there with them, just making sure they're alright," said Evan Kramp.

If you see anyone in distress while the guards are not on duty, call 911 immediately.