Hoboken City Council rejects proposed ordinance to fine people who don't wear masks in certain situations

The Hoboken City Council has rejected a proposed ordinance to impose fines on people who don't wear masks outdoors, where social distancing isn't possible.

News 12 Staff

Aug 20, 2020, 2:53 PM

Updated 1,337 days ago

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The Hoboken City Council has rejected a proposed ordinance to impose fines on people who don't wear masks outdoors, where social distancing isn't possible.
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The vote failed 6-3 Wednesday night. The result comes even as 89% of city residents recently surveyed said they agreed or strongly agreed that face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and 51% of them agreed or strongly agreed with a fine of $250 for not wearing a face mask when social distancing is not possible. During the public portion of the council meeting, some strong comments against the ordinance were made.
“20% of Americans are out of work, you are out of touch if you think that Hoboken residents haven't been affected too,” says Rochelle Flynn, of Hoboken. “So, I ask, how dare you, our representatives elected to act on our collective behalf, fine us for any reason you got, for exercising a human right to breathe fresh air."
Councilman Steve Cohen was disappointed with the result, saying, "Hoboken needs to instill a culture of compliance with respect to mask-wearing in places where it is impossible to practice social distancing. The failure to authorize the city to issue warnings and tickets for such risky misconduct emboldens ‘mask-less’ visitors to continue squeezing past us on our sidewalks and in our parks further diminishing the quality of life in our city, particularly for our seniors and at-risk population who are rightly fearful to venture into Hoboken's public spaces due to the risks of COVID-19 and the poor rates of compliance in our community."
"Don't fine me $250 because you're not going to get it from me,” says William James Smith. “Plain and simple, you're not going to get it from me."
Others in town have said say there are better ways to protect the public, including handing out masks, rather than fining people who don't use them.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order earlier this summer that requires anyone outside who can't social distance to wear a face covering, but it's up to each municipality in the state to enforce it.


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