Fresh off announcing an internal review has concluded that his administration handled the risks of coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes just fine, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy is announcing that the state will now require citizens to wear masks outdoors in circumstances where social distancing is impossible.
Murphy acknowledges that implementing this order will be difficult, as certain public locations may change from crowded to not-crowded and back as people move around. While wearing masks in outdoor locations when close to others is a good idea, it is not difficult to picture significant legal challenges in enforcing any penalties. “Your honor, when the officer wrote up that ticket for not wearing a mask, the only person who was within six feet of my client was the officer himself.”
As one reader observed, this will embolden “an army of Karens.”
Murphy’s spring has been . . . challenging. On May 6, the governor signed Executive Order 148, barring outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people. On June 8, while that order was still in effect, Murphy participated in two separate protest marches, both involving hundreds of people. Murphy demanded the state government of New Jersey and its state police do more to fight racial disparity in law enforcement. (If only Phil Murphy was in a position to do something about how the state police operates.)
The day after attending those protests, after Republicans pointed out Murphy was violating his own order, Murphy changed the law to exempt “First Amendment protected outdoor activities such as political protests of any persuasion or outdoor religious services.”
Heck of a job, New Jersey. Heck of a job.