Former Republican gubernatorial candidate says NJ residents should resist any new mask mandates

A former New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate is calling upon people to unite and resist any attempt by Gov. Phil Murphy to bring back mask mandates.

News 12 Staff

Jul 21, 2021, 12:53 AM

Updated 1,007 days ago

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A former New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate is calling upon people to unite and resist any attempt by Gov. Phil Murphy to bring back mask mandates.
The governor has stated that he has no current plans to bring back masking rules. But as cases of COVID-19 rise in the state, he says that he won’t rule it out.
Republican Phil Rizzo says that masks shouldn’t even be an option any longer.
“It's time for people to unite, it's time for people to lock arms, it is time to defy and have a social resistance from the citizenry against an overbearing government,” he says.
Rizzo was runner-up in the Republican gubernatorial primary, losing to Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli. But despite the loss, Rizzo is still going after Murphy.
“There’s absolutely no science behind [a mask mandate],” Rizzo says. “If the science says that I need to enter a restaurant, walk 9 ½ feet with a mask on, just to sit down for 2 ½ hours with no mask on, then we are outside of common sense, logic and science.”
But as COVID-19 cases rise around New Jersey, and the threat of the delta variant, some health officials are concerned.
“We’re certainly watching the numbers very closely,” says Democratic Assemblyman Herb Conaway.
Conaway is an MD who also serves as Burlington County’s health officer. He says that he agrees with Murphy that now is not the time to re-order masking, but says that the delta variant could change that in the future.
“Higher numbers, numbers moving in the wrong direction. So they're clouds on the horizon. We just have to keep an eye on those clouds and make sure it doesn't turn into a storm,” says Conaway.
Under the public health emergency law, the governor can reimpose mask mandates if the rate of transmission goes over 1. On Tuesday, it was at 1.39.
“Any law can be passed. It doesn’t mean it’s lawful,” says Rizzo. “We respect law enforcement and quite honestly from the campaign and speaking with family members and friends who are law enforcement, they don't want to do this. They don't want this to be part of what they are doing to enforce laws.”
Conaway, Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli all say the best way to contain the delta variant is to get vaccinated.
“These vaccines protect you and they’ll keep you out of the hospital and they are safe,” Conaway says.
Rizzo says he has had conversations with Ciattarelli, but has not been vetted for lieutenant governor. He says that he does not expect to be chosen.


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