Hoboken considers fining residents who don’t wear face coverings in some situations

The city of Hoboken is considering fining people who refuse to follow the rules on wearing face coverings when social distancing rules are difficult to follow.

News 12 Staff

Aug 18, 2020, 10:04 AM

Updated 1,340 days ago

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The city of Hoboken is considering fining people who refuse to follow the rules on wearing face coverings when social distancing rules are difficult to follow.
Masks are required to enter Pier C Park in Hoboken because the walkway is too thin to allow for safe social distancing. But many people spotted in the park on Tuesday either did not know about the rule or just did not care to follow it.
“I don’t think it’s necessary. We’re outdoors,” says Hoboken resident Dawn Stackhouse.
But Stackhouse could soon face a $250 fine if 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen has his way. The councilman is introducing an ordinance that allows for summonses and a fine for those who do not comply with the rules.
“These are my friends and neighbors and they’re afraid to go outside because they don’t want to get sick,” Cohen says. “They see people on Washington Street and on the waterfront not wearing masks and they’re afraid.”
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order earlier this summer that requires anyone outside who can’t social distance to wear a mask. But it is up to each municipality in the state to enforce it.
“You’ll see signs all over Hoboken, ‘No mask, no entry.’ I think we’re doing the best we can with being persuasive. But it’s getting to the point where we have to take it to the next level if we really want to get compliance,” says Cohen.
Cohen admits that enforcement would be tough. Education and warnings would come first, with fines reserved for repeat offenders and those who knowingly and willingly break the rules. But he says that he is hopeful that the threat of financial consequences might bolster compliance.
“I don’t have $250 laying around, so I’d have to [be compliant],” says Stackhouse.
Hoboken officials sent out an online survey to see what residents think about the idea. Cohen says that nearly 3,000 people filled out the survey on the first day.
Final voting on the ordinance is Wednesday night. The public will have a chance to voice their opinion before the final vote.


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