BREAKING: Masks Now Required Outdoor in New Jersey When Social Distancing Isn’t Possible, Governor Murphy Says
New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy will sign an executive order today that will mandate masks to be worn outdoor in settings where social distancing isn't possible. The governor broke the news on Wednesday.
"There's no question that face coverings are game-changers. I think we were the first state in America to require them indoors and they've been strongly recommended outdoors," Murphy said during a TV interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe. "We're gonna turn that up a notch today and say if you can't socially distance that it's going to be required."
Using the Asbury Park Boardwalk as an example, Murphy said during Wednesday's TV interview that if you're alone or with your family, you won't be required to wear a mask. However, facial coverings will be required outdoors if you're in a group or setting where social distancing isn't possible.
“If you’re congregating with a lot of other folks, and there’s no social distancing, you’ll at least get a warning, if not something stronger,” Murphy says. "This is harder to enforce, which is why it's not a no-brainer, but we have to take this step."
"This is absolutely vital when individuals find themselves in a crowded situation such as when walking down a packed boardwalk or in a line that is not properly spaced apart," the governor said during Wednesday's press conference.
New Jersey (like much of the country) is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The state's rate of transmission is now over 1.0 for the first time in 10 weeks. That's a key metric that officials have been following.
New Jersey's rate of transmission being over 1.0 means that that for every one person infected with the coronavirus they've infected t least one more person (on average).
"Requiring masks outdoors is frankly a step I hoped we would not have to take, but unfortunately, we have been seeing a backslide in compliance as the weather has gotten warmer, and not surprisingly, as a result, our rate of transmission has similarly crept up," Murphy said during Wednesday's press conference.
For those wondering, the governor did acknowledge that it can be difficult to wear a mask during the summer. He used his own experience running outdoors in the summer heat and says that this will be an evolving situation.
Today's order includes an exemption for individuals clearly eating or drinking outdoors or for those who it endangers their health and safety because of medical conditions. Additionally, children under the age of 2 will be exempt.