TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be returned to full staff on Friday, July 3. Unites States and New Jersey flags have been at half-staff since Friday, April 3, in recognition and mourning of all those who have lost their lives and been affected by COVID-19. The flags will return to full staff as a symbol of New Jersey’s recovery and continued resolve.

"While we continue to mourn all those who have lost their lives and keep their families in our thoughts and prayers, raising the flags at this time can serve as a symbol of our recovery and continued resolve, and will allow our flags to fly at full staff for Independence Day;" Murphy states in Executive Order 160.

“As a result of the hard sacrifices made by all New Jerseyans, we have made immense progress in the fight against COVID-19,” Murphy said. “As we approach Independence Day, it is the appropriate time to recognize the resilience of the people of our state and our country, and remind us all that much like other difficult periods in our history, we will eventually make it through.”

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EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 160

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the globe, with some reports indicating that there are now over 10,357,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and over 2,624,000 cases in the United States; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, with over 171,000 residents testing positive for COVID-19 and at least 13,224 of our fellow New Jerseyans losing their lives; and

WHEREAS, these individuals were family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and include healthcare workers, first responders, and others who gave their lives working bravely and tirelessly on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic; and WHEREAS, each and every life lost to COVID-19 is a profound tragedy for us all; and

WHEREAS, at the beginning of this pandemic, social gatherings were prohibited to prevent further spread of the virus and loss of life, which prevented funerals and memorial services from going forward in the manner that they would under normal circumstances; and

WHEREAS, as a gesture of our collective mourning, I signed Executive Order No. 114 on April 3, 2020, which lowered flags to half-staff indefinitely as a reminder of the awful human toll that this pandemic has inflicted upon this State, our nation, and the world; and

WHEREAS, the number of New Jersey residents who have died from COVID-19 is now greater than the number of New Jersey residents who died in World War II, which was the deadliest armed conflict in the history of our State and nation; and

WHEREAS, despite this unfathomable loss of life, because of the enormous progress that we have made in the fight against COVID-19, we have been able to raise the limits on gatherings considerably, 2 which has allowed many funerals and memorial services to go forward; and

WHEREAS, as of July 3, 2020, our flags will have been lowered for exactly three months, an unprecedented gesture of mourning for an unprecedented tragedy in the history of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, while we continue to mourn all those who have lost their lives and keep their families in our thoughts and prayers, raising the flags at this time can serve as a symbol of our recovery and continued resolve, and will allow our flags to fly at full staff for Independence Day;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT: 1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall fly at full staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, starting on Friday, July 3, 2020. 2. As of Friday, July 3, 2020, Executive Order No. 114 (2020) is no longer in effect.