N.J. coronavirus update: State contractors must be vaccinated or tested weekly

A health care worker holds a syringe containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

A health care worker holds a syringe containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Henry J. Austin Health Center vaccination site in Trenton on Jan. 7, 2020. (Edwin J. Torres/N.J. Governor's Office).

New Jersey officials are now requiring that contractors be vaccinated or subjected to weekly testing of COVID-19.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that going forward, contract employees who enter, work at, or provide services inside any state agency must comply.

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His newest executive order is similar to one that all state employees must follow. Similar to teachers, state workers had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or be subjected to weekly testing. State workers began to return to offices in phases this week.

“We want to make sure particularly this week as we have gone back much more full bore back to the office in three of our big departments and the front office as well that this was the right time to do this.”

Murphy’s order affects all new state contracts, extensions or renewals of existing state contracts in addition to contract solicitations.

“It’s a prospective executive order because we can’t undo contracts that already exist,” he added.

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The exact number of contractors affected by this is not known, but the governor guessed that the number would ultimately be built into “hundreds into thousands” over time.

“We came to the conclusion that the virus does not know whether or not you’re a full-time employee or you’re a contractor,” Murphy added.

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