New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that people will now be required to wear masks outside in public when social distancing isn't possible in the state.
“There’s no question that face coverings are game-changers,” the governor said. “I think we were the first state in America to require them indoors. They’ve been strongly recommended out-of-doors. We’re gonna turn that up a notch today and say, We’re gonna ask you: If you can’t socially distance, it’s gonna be required.”
People in New Jersey have been mandated since April to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, including stores, restaurants, public transportation, and other businesses.
Murphy's statement means that people will now have to wear face coverings in an outdoor setting with large numbers of people where social distancing is difficult.
The governor didn't say whether there would be a penalty or fine for not adhering to the mandate.
“If you’re there by yourself or with your family, the answer is no,” he said. “But if you’re congregating with a lot of other folks and there’s no social distancing, you’re gonna at least get a warning, if not something stronger.”
“Admittedly, this is harder to enforce, which is why it’s not a no-brainer,” he added. “But we have to take this step, particularly given the hotspots we’re seeing elsewhere in the country. We’ve gone through hell in New Jersey. We’ve lost over 13,000 people. We’ve brought our numbers way down. We can’t go through that hell again.”
In the interview, he added that wearing masks should be a national mandate. President Donald Trump so far has resisted the idea and instead recommends that people wear face coverings.
“It’s a lot of pleading to personal responsibility for folks to do the right thing. We call it common sense for the common good," Murphy said.
Several other states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, in recent days, have made mask-wearing mandatory outside when social distancing isn't possible.