By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. The Garden State was one of the first states in the country to mandate masks and becomes one of the last to lift the restriction — but it’s happening just in time for the unofficial start of summer.

As of Friday, May 28, the statewide indoor mask mandate will end, but businesses and entities overseeing indoor spaces may continue to require customers and employees to wear face coverings.

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Customers at bars and restaurants will be allowed to use dance floors and order food and drinks while standing at bars and restaurants beginning Friday.

“We have carefully, safely reopened with an eye on ensuring positive trends would not be reversed,” Murphy said. “These steps when added together are the clearest signs to our commitment to careful, deliberate reopening the state after what has been a crushing 15-month period.”

Masks will still be required in some settings as the Garden State will follow CDC guidance. Masks will still be required in the following locations:

  • In health care settings, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters
  • On airplanes, buses, trains, other forms of public transportation and while inside transportation hubs; including airports and bus stations
  • Public-facing state offices, such as New Jersey Motor Vehicle Centers
  • Worksites that are closed to the public, including warehousing and manufacturing facilities
  • Child care centers and youth summer camps
  • Private, public, parochial preschool program premises
  • Elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools

“Lifting the mask mandate is not a license to be a knucklehead, lifting the mask mandate simply acknowledges how far we’ve come together, and together we will cross the finish line,” Murphy said.

Last week, the state lifted all capacity limits at restaurants.

“I’m totally ready for it,” Philadelphian Annie Pape said. “I’m vaccinated, most of my friends and family are vaccinated. As long as the CDC says it’s safe, I think we are ready to go.”

Private businesses may continue to require customers and employees to wear face coverings, and individuals can still choose to wear a mask — mandate or not.

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“I have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine but I will still be wearing my mask,” Oaklyn resident Lauren Koptis said.

While many Eyewitness News saw in Collingswood are OK going without a mask outside, inside changes things.

“I think it’s scary for people especially those who work indoors. We really don’t know who is fully vaccinated,” Collingswood resident Carol Tracy said.

That’s something the governor addressed Monday.

“We are asking people to be responsible and to do the right thing for your own safety and the safety of your community,” Murphy said.

He added no masks doesn’t mean no pandemic.

Gov. Murphy is also removing all indoor gathering limits beginning Friday, June 4. The 30% limit on large indoor venues with fixed seating of 1,000 or greater will also be lifted.

Currently, the indoor gathering limit for homes in New Jersey is 50 people.

There’s no outdoor gathering limit in the Garden State, but you still have to practice social distancing.

Murphy continues to encourage New Jerseyans to get vaccinated and is asking those who are not vaccinated to continue wearing a face mask.

“If you are not fully vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to follow the CDC guidance and wear a face mask in any indoor public setting,” Murphy said. “Please be responsible and do the right thing for your own safety and your community’s safety.”

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CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Alicia Roberts contributed to this report.