TRENTON, NJ — Face coverings must be worn in outdoor public spaces when keeping at least six feet away from others cannot be maintained, under the latest coronavirus-related order by Gov. Phil Murphy.

People eating or drinking at outdoor dining establishments, children under age 2 and individuals whose health would be inhibited by wearing a face covering are exempt from the mask mandate, which is already in effect for indoor settings. 

"Requiring masks outdoors is a step I had hoped we would not have to take," Murphy said during his July 8 press briefing. "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."

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"It’s about being sick or healthy. It's about life and death. It's about showing others that you care about their health," Murphy said. "It's about showing your community what side you’re on in the fight against COVID-19."

The governor added that coronavirus doesn’t care what political party you belong to, doesn’t care what you may think about masking up, and doesn’t care about you or your family.

"(COVID-19) just wants to kill you and move on to the next victim. It does care if you wear a mask. Period, full stop," he added. "Remember, there is no vaccine. There is no cure. There is no proven therapeutic. There is only social distancing and masking. That’s it."

Murphy was asked if the outdoor mask rule applies to landscapers, lifeguards, painters and others who work outside. "Part of the reason we had not gone to outdoor masks is that it is, admittedly, hard to enforce. It is (required) where social distancing is not practical,: the governor said.

"Our focus is gatherings with lack of social distancing," said Murphy, who claimed he consulted with health experts before issuing the executive order. "We feel very strongly we are taking the right step. It's the right thing to do."

Click here for Executive Order 163.

Restaurants Expand Outdoor Dining Capabilities

During the press conference, Murphy announced 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 airflow," Murphy said. 

Restaurants still are able to serve socially distanced customers under tents and other temporary shelters.

A reporter asked the governor for his thoughts about Assemblyman Jon Bramnick's proposed bill that would reimburse restaurants for expenses they paid in anticipation of operating indoor dining at 25 percent capacity over the July 4 weekend. The governor responded by saying Bramnick is a friend, but asked where the money would come from.

Budget Issues

Gov. Murphy reiterated the need to secure funding to protect against "an imminent fiscal meltdown" by allowing the state to go to the bond markets for an emergency infusion of cash to keep our state afloat.

"We cannot simply cut our way out of the budgetary hole we will fall into," Murphy said of anticipated budget gaps. "I’ve already offered painful cuts and negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in savings with our labor partners. This is a multibillion-dollar hole."

According to the governor, the services that could be negatively impacted by budget shortfalls are: law enforcement. public education, public health workers, property tax relief for the middle class and tuition assistance.

"All of it, and more, on the chopping block, and likely gone if bonding authority is not passed," the governor warned.

COVID Case Update

As is the case with the now thrice weekly COVID-19 press conference, Murphy announced the latest state health figures: 935 patients in hospitals with 175 patients in either critical or intensive care and 142 ventilators in use. The governor reported an additional confirmed 53 deaths attributed to COVID-19, raising the confirmed statewide total to 13,476 lives lost. 

In Monmouth County, as of July 8, there were six new positive cases, bringing the total to 9,519. There were three new deaths today, bringing the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County to 729.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 249
  • Allenhurst: 9
  • Allentown: 9
  • Asbury Park: 321
  • Atlantic Highlands: 38
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 15
  • Belmar: 48 (Belmar officials reported there are seven current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code were removed from the borough’s total.)
  • Bradley Beach: 61 
  • Brielle: 40
  • Colts Neck: 92
  • Deal: 37
  • Eatontown: 320
  • Englishtown: 50
  • Fair Haven: 33
  • Farmingdale: 15
  • Freehold Borough: 427
  • Freehold Township: 714
  • Hazlet: 339
  • Highlands: 37
  • Holmdel: 320
  • Howell: 707
  • Interlaken: 4
  • Keansburg: 204
  • Keyport: 107
  • Lake Como: 18
  • Little Silver: 39
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 636
  • Manalapan: 512
  • Manasquan: 36
  • Marlboro: 509
  • Matawan: 215
  • Middletown: 768
  • Millstone Township: 89
  • Monmouth Beach: 22
  • Neptune City: 67
  • Neptune Township: 630
  • Ocean: 377
  • Oceanport: 66
  • Red Bank: 265
  • Roosevelt: 7
  • Rumson: 51
  • Sea Bright: 11
  • Sea Girt: 18
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 58
  • Shrewsbury Township: 11
  • Spring Lake: 21
  • Spring Lake Heights: 30
  • Tinton Falls: 232
  • Union Beach: 46
  • Upper Freehold: 65
  • Wall: 434
  • West Long Branch: 77
  • Unknown: 12

Below is a video of Gov. Murphy's July 8 press briefing: 

 

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