Governor Phil Murphy is signing an executive order mandating people to wear face masks outdoors in public spaces when they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Murphy made the news official at his press conference this afternoon.
“Requiring masks outdoors is a step I had hoped we would not have to take,” he said. “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.”
During the press conference, Murphy said wearing a mask when you step out shows your community you care about them and is a way to pay “homage to your family, friends, your neighbors and your community.” The new face mask mandate excludes children under the age of 2 and those with a medical condition.
Murphy acknowledged that this new executive order will be hard to enforce but added that the state’s focus is on “gatherings with a lack of social distancing with folks who are in different bubbles.”
In April, Murphy signed an executive order requiring everyone to wear a face mask or covering indoors when shoor on public transit. New Jersey was the first state to mandate face masks The move comes as states across the country are seeing a spike in cases. Yesterday, Murphy expanded the number of states on his quarantine list. That means if you come to NJ from any of one of 19 states seeing a surge in cases (the list includes neighboring Delaware), you should self quarantine for 14 days.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday said he was “strongly in favor” of requiring mask use. Speaking during a Facebook event, Fauci said requiring mask use sends an important and much-needed message. “If you say ‘it doesn’t matter whether you put it on or take it off,’ you’re giving a wrong, mixed signal,” he said. “The message should be, ‘Wear a mask, period.’ “
A recently-developed visual shows why it’s a good idea to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Without a mask, droplets produced during coughing can travel up to 12 feet (3.7 meters), the visualization revealed, but with a mask, this distance is reduced to just a few inches in the best cases,” Live Science reports.
In other news, Governor Murphy also announced that the state is making a change that will allow for more restaurants to offer outdoor dining. “We will be allowing areas with fixed roofs that have two open sides comprising over 50 percent of the total wall space to be considered outdoors, in light of the air flow,” he said.