New Jersey makes face masks outdoors mandatory as state death toll reaches 15,281

NEW Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is requiring residents of the state to wear masks in public in order to control the continued resurgence of coronavirus infections in the state in the past few days.

“Requiring masks outdoors is a step I had hoped we would not have to take. By and large, New Jerseyans have been outstanding in their compliance,” Murphy said. “But, unfortunately, we’ve been seeing a backslide in compliance in New Jersey and across our nation.”

New Jersey reported 52 new deaths and 312 new infections with the rate of transmission going up again for the first time in 10 weeks. The rate of transmission refers to the number of cases expected from each new diagnosis. New rate is up to 1.05 which means that every newly infected resident is transmitting COVID-19 to at least one other person and the speed of infection is accelerating.

“We need to further bring our numbers down and I don’t blame folks for being frustrated but please bear with us,” Murphy said during his press briefing on Wednesday, July 8. “Our focus is gatherings with lack of social distancing, folks coming together and you cannot properly social distance. You have to mask up.”

Murphy said that this move to require the public to wear masks outdoors is critical to controlling the spread of the virus in the state. He admitted that it is going to be hard to enforce the order and pleaded for the public’s support in order to build up on the progress that has been made since the start of the outbreak.

In the same briefing, Murphy said that wearing a face mask “is not about politics” since the virus “doesn’t care about what political party you belong to.”

“It frankly just wants to kill you and move on to the next victim,” he said.

Murphy also announced this week that the state has added three more states to the list states from which travelers should self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey. Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma have joined 16 other states in this list.

The virus has killed more than 131,000 Americans and this week, the country reached yet another milestone as the number of confirmed cases reached the three million mark.

“In order to responsibly continue down our road back to restart and recovery, we must remain vigilant in our collective effort to beat the virus and reduce the rate of transmission,” the governor said in an earlier statement.

Back in April, New Jersey and New York were considered as the epicenter of coronavirus infection in the country. New Jersey is still second among all the states in total number of COVID-19 deaths. More than 1.5 million tests have been administered in the state since the outbreak began.

States that have reopened across the country have reported soaring infection rates and this triggered the decision last week to indefinitely postpone the reopening of indoor dining in restaurants.

New Jersey allowed outdoor dining on June 15 and since the lockdown in March, restaurants have only been permitted to provide takeout or delivery services.

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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