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.

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

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

New Jersey is in Phase Two of its road to reopening. In recent weeks,  Murphy has removed social distancing measures to allow for limited outdoor dining and in-store shopping.  His cabinet laid the groundwork for schools to reopen in September. 

However,  the governor did backtrack on a plan to resume limited indoor dining.

Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas are among the 16 states on a quarantine-on-arrival order for travelers that Murphy set up last week. 

Murphy's call for face masks for all stands in stark contrast with the other guest during Sunday morning's program. 

Arkansas' Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Friday that allows cities in his state to implement a mandatory mask order.

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

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