No one worked harder over the past three months protecting ourselves and each other during the COVID-19 pandemic than New Jersey residents, and the results were very encouraging. But as the days pass, are we starting to get a little relaxed with our masks?

I ask this because this weekend I noticed a lot of people with masks below their noses, not on at all, or hanging around people's necks. And all of this in places where the masks are supposed to be on.

I'm not about preaching or scolding. trust me on that. We have been through a very, very long stretch of stress and fear and quarantine and all the other things we have been put through during this horrible pandemic.

It's only human nature to want to get back to some type of normalcy. We worked hard and saw the numbers finally turn in our favor in the Garden State. And now we want to return to the things we love and do them the way we love them.

But are we there yet? I'm not a doctor. So I can't answer that. But I do know that I put that mask on in the hopes of doing my part to protect my neighbors and fellow community members, whether I know them or not.

And I'm even more inclined to keep doing the mask thing in light of what's going on in other states, and I don't want to see that happen to us again. Once is already too much.

I know most of you are doing things the safe way. You are wearing the masks when you are near people, and social distancing whenever you can. And for that, your community thanks you. For those who have relaxed a little, I hope you can hold out a little longer.

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Of course, we've heard that Manasquan has shut down recreation programs for a week after some beach and recreation employees were diagnosed with coronavirus. So, we are not done with this virus yet.

It has been a long road and no one could blame anyone else for being weary of all this. But I think if we can use that laser focus that New Jersey is famous for just a little longer, we can put ourselves in the best possible position to truly put this behind us.

Thank you for what you have done and will do to protect others. None of this is easy.