BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, NJ -- Gov. Phil Murphy called upon the federal government to mandate face coverings as the spread of COVID-19 surges across the United States Sunbelt.

During a Sunday morning interview on "Meet the Press," Murphy said New Jersey is seeing a small spike in cases due to travelers coming into the Garden State from Florida and South Carolina.

“This thing is lethal. New Jersey’s paid an enormous price,” Murphy said. “We went through hell. We cannot go through hell again. We need a national strategy right now and masking has to be at the core of that.”

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Murphy, who spent the holiday weekend down the shore, reported via Twitter on Saturday 303 new COVID-19 cases and 25 new deaths in New Jersey. 

New Jersey is in Phase Two of its road to reopening. In recent weeks, Murphy has relaxed social distancing measures to allow for limited outdoor dining and in-store shopping. His cabinet laid the groundwork for schools to reopen in September. The governor, however, reversed a plan to resume limited indoor dining.

Last week, Murphy urged travelers from Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas and 13 other states to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival to New Jersey. 

Murphy's state-level mandate for everyone to wear face coverings stands in stark contrast with the other guest during Sunday morning's program. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Fri., July 3, that gives cities in his state the discretion to implement mandatory mask orders.

Hutchinson said if President Donald Trump were to hold an event such as the one held at Mount Rushmore on Fri., July 3, he would insist on mask wearing and social distancing. 


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