- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order Wednesday requiring people to wear face masks outside to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Requiring masks outdoors is a step I had hoped we would not have to take,” the first-term Democrat said during a press conference Wednesday, a local NBC affiliate reported. “By and large, New Jerseyans have been outstanding in their compliance, but, unfortunately, we’ve been seeing a backslide in compliance in New Jersey and across our nation.”

Face masks are already required indoors in the state but will now be required outdoors when social-distancing isn’t possible. Exceptions include children under 2 years old, people whose health would be affected by wearing a mask and when people are in the process of eating or drinking.

“Wearing a face covering is not about politics. … It’s about life and death,” Mr. Murphy said. “It’s about showing others that you care about their health.”

During an interview earlier Wednesday with MSNBC, the governor declined to specify how he planned to enforce the policy or what penalties residents might face if they violate the order.

“If you’re [at the park] by yourself or with your family, the answer is no,” Mr. Murphy said, Nj.com reported. “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 hot spots 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.”

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