Hoboken will lift the city’s indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, based on Hudson County’s falling positivity rate.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who had issued the order on Dec. 27 two days after he himself tested positive for COVID-19, said that the recent data, along with the city’s vaccination rate, testing options and low hospitalizations made it possible for them to lift the requirement.
Hoboken and the greater county had seen a COVID wave unlike any other since the pandemic began, largely fueled by the highly transmittable Omicron variant. In recent weeks, however, the daily number of cases have decreased, reducing to levels before the wave began.
Recently, the city has had only a seven-day average of about 12 COVID cases since Feb. 4, with cases on the decline after the holidays on Jan. 7. In Hudson County, there has been an average of 170 cases per day since Feb. 6, down from an average of 2,056 cases the month prior.
Local businesses will still be allowed the option to require face masks. Municipal facilities will still require masks.
“Although our mask requirement for indoor locations is currently coming to an end, it is still important to utilize the tools we have at our disposal to stay safe from COVID-19,” said Mayor Bhalla in a statement. “COVID-19 remains a significant health risk for those who are unvaccinated, and I ask anyone who has not yet done so, to get vaccinated or boosted, and get tested if you believe you’ve been exposed.”