‘It’s about life and death’: New Jerseyans required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing isn't possible

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday making New Jersey the 20th state to require residents to wear masks outside when social distancing isn't possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Jul 9, 2020, 9:31 AM

Updated 1,373 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed an 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.
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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.
"Wearing a face covering, I remind you, is not about politics,” says Gov. Murphy. “It’s about quite simply being sick or being healthy. It’s about life and death. It’s about showing others that you care about their health, especially if you've not been tested and you don't know if you're an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus. It's about showing your community what side you're on."
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.
The mandate sparked a feud between the governor and state Sen. Mike Doherty, starting with a tweet from Doherty 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.
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."
AP wire services helped contribute to this report.


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