New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he will sign an executive order Wednesday that mandates masks be worn outdoors in settings where social distancing isn’t possible, mirroring policies currently in place in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“There’s no question that face coverings are game-changers,” Murphy said Wednesday morning during an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
New Jersey residents have been required since April to wear masks indoors in businesses and on public transportation, but Murphy said he has been forced to “turn it up a notch” and expand the mandate to outdoor settings — such as the boardwalk or the beach — where large groups of people make social distancing difficult.
“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 said of those caught not wearing a mask, though he admitted enforcement of such a mandate is difficult.
The details of the executive order were not immediately available, though Murphy is expected to outline the requirements during a coronavirus briefing at 1 p.m. The new order comes as the New Jersey’s rate of transmission — the rate at which the virus spreads from one person to another — surpassed 1.0 for the first time in 10 weeks.
“We’ve gone through hell in New Jersey. We’ve lost over 13,000 people. We’ve brought our numbers way down,” Murphy said. “We can’t go through that hell again.”