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New Jersey to require masks outdoors

New Jersey to require masks outdoors
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday that the state will require facial coverings for all outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible, building on an earlier order that required face masks for indoor public spaces.

"There's no question that face coverings are game changers. I think we were the first state in America to require them indoors; they've been strongly recommended out of doors. We're going to turn that up a notch today and say we're going to ask you if you can't socially distance then it’s going to be required," Murphy told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

New Jersey was an early hotspot for the virus along with New York, but despite a recent decline in case its infection rate hit a 10-week high this week, according to NBC New York. New Jersey has required masks indoors since April.

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Murphy conceded the new mandate would be “hard to enforce,” particularly in heavily trafficked areas like the Jersey Shore, but said rising cases in other states had forced his hand. He cited the peak of the state’s coronavirus outbreak in April and said New Jersey “can’t go through that hell again.”

The governor noted that the mandate would not apply to people who were by themselves or in a group of family members, but that facial coverings will be required for those “congregating with a lot of other folks.”

Murphy did not commit to specific penalties for noncompliance, but said “you could at least get a warning, if not something stronger.”

During the lockdown period, New Jersey formed a partnership with several other nearby states, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island, that have also required facial coverings outdoors.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have also begun requiring two-week quarantines for visitors from states experiencing spikes in the virus. On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoBipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package Hundreds protest over NY bar owners arrested for coronavirus violations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates MORE (D) announced that those quarantine rules would be expanded to include visitors from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma.