‘Exploiting a public health crisis for power’: State Sen. Doherty responds to Gov. Murphy’s new mask mandate

The new mask mandate in New Jersey has sparked a feud between Gov. Phil Murphy and State Sen. Mike Doherty.

News 12 Staff

Jul 9, 2020, 10:18 AM

Updated 1,379 days ago

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The new mask mandate in New Jersey has sparked a feud between Gov. Phil Murphy and state Sen. Mike Doherty.
Doherty started with a tweet, saying, “Enforcing a new mask mandate while cases have dropped is exploiting a public health crisis for power. Gov. Murphy's unilateral and oppressive actions are destroying the economy and will now negatively impact everyday New Jerseyans outside in the summer sun.”
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Gov. Murphy responded, saying, "Stop playing politics with people's lives,” to which Doherty replied, "Stop playing politics with people's livelihoods. Reopen New Jersey."
Gov. Murphy signed the executive order Wednesday, making New Jersey the 20 state to require residents to wear masks outside when social distancing isn't possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The governor says the rate representing how many people one infected person spreads the virus to climbed from about 0.7 to 1.1 Wednesday.
Masks are already required indoors in New Jersey, and are currently encouraged to be worn outside.
Murphy said during a news conference in Trenton that “admittedly” it would be hard to enforce, but pointed to the rate of transmission of the virus creeping higher as the reason for the requirement, as well as not enough people complying.
There are a few exceptions to the rule. Children under the age of 2 will not have to wear one, and the same goes if a mask inhibits someone's health or they are dining outdoors.
The penalties for violating the order are pretty stiff. If you are caught not wearing a mask while social distancing isn’t possible, you could face up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. The punishments are similar to how Gov. Murphy’s previous virus orders have been enforced.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.


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