MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Maplewood Village has been designated as a mandatory mask zone by the Maplewood Board of Health at last night’s Township Committee meeting.

The suggestion for such a designation came from Public Health Officer Candace Davenport and Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis, who also serves as Board of Health Chair.

“We have heard from multiple residents that they are concerned about the lack of mask compliance on in the village, in particular during the weekend and in the evenings,” Davenport said.

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While mask wearing has been required since July 8 by Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 163 in “outdoor public spaces when [people] cannot social distance,” this designation adds on that mask wearing is required at all times in Maplewood Village, no matter how far apart one person is from another.

MORE: It Pays to Wear a Face Mask in Downtown Westfield

Dafis said he has heard for a long while from residents concerned about “masking in the village, certainly as outdoor dining took off more, certainly as the pedestrian mall became more popular. And as we added music and other festive ideas to keep people outside and to get them outside, we received a lot of complaints from people” that masks were not being worn in the Village. 

Dafis noted that he has been in at least two other business districts with this requirement and Township Committee member Vic DeLuca said that Hoboken has a similar designation.

Committee member Nancy Adams agreed with the proposal, saying “I think it's virtually impossible to stay socially distant in the village.”

After fulsome discussion which included the possibility of extending mandatory masking to public parks in the future if needed, the emergency resolution was unanimously approved.

Signage in the Village will go up soon to inform residents of the change.