OPINION: Time for Universal Mask Mandate is Now

A constant refrain from Gov. Phil Murphy and his health official during the COVID-19 crisis has been the need to “mask up.”

Masks have been mandated when we go into stores, workplaces, in public when social distancing is not applicable and will be for children and staff going back to classrooms this September.

The message, while consistent, has been lost in translation as enforcement and application of wearing a mask has become inconsistent. Too often those wearing masks in a public—walking around the Jersey Shore, house parties, high school graduation ceremonies, taking a walk in a park—are a minority.

Fatigue has begun to set in for the general public, something the governor acknowledge at his Aug. 7 press briefing. “I know we’re all getting a little fatigued, but we cannot give coronavirus one more inch,” he said. “Let’s keep doing what we need to do to get our numbers back down.”

To combat the fatigue, it is time for Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health to mandate the wearing of a mask at all times in all situations. And politicians on both sides of the aisle must be leaders in wearing masks at all times when interacting in public and private settings.

We have listened to the argument that the forcing one to wear a mask is freedom issue and we would agree. But there are few and specific cases where personal freedoms should be set aside for the greater good of the community and nation you live in. A national pandemic that has sickened nearly 5 million and killed 160,000 of our fellow citizens since March falls under the category.

Gov. Murphy showed this week he is willing to rollback restrictions when health data metrics are not going in the right direction. Expanding the mask mandate will help New Jersey in this endeavor.

With the cold and flu season coming right around the quarter, actions such as mandating mask and making sure it is enforced by law enforcement is a must to keep the predicted second wave of the coronavirus at a minimum.

The time to act is now and not before the health data forces the state to rollback restrictions further.

11 comments

  1. Children returning to school or other places should be supplied with masks so they don’t make a game of trading them and spreading the virus. It will be worth the expense.

  2. I wish the mandate to wear masks had been enacted a month ago. What are we waiting for. In addition I want to see police officers wearing masks. How will they enforce the mandate when they themselves are derelict in their duty and in addition set a bad example for residents of New Jersey? It’s time for Governor Murphy to get tough. He has done a great job protecting this state but I’m afraid I see too many fools That will alter the COVID 19 Rate. It’s important we don’t get sloppy about protecting each other because fatigue has set in. Governor please continue your good work and stop us from killing ourselves.

  3. I agree…mandatory on masks. Too many people don’t get it, don’t care, and like children have to be told what the rules are. This is NOT a political statement. It is a HEALTH issue. It is CARING about others.
    Grow up people!

  4. This may make sense in a city or dense setting but not in a suburban or rural setting when you can walk for blocks and blocks without ever getting within 10 feet from of anyone.

  5. if you want safety from the covid-19 virus don’t just think of yourself think of mankind and wear the mask .Until a safe serum is finally found we can still survive with these restrictions, a small price to pay.

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