New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he’ll need to “pull the brakes” on beaches slated to reopen Memorial Day weekend — if COVID-19 cases begin to spike again.
Murphy made the comments to CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night — saying that he’s taking a “big step” by reopening the beaches for the summer.
“The curves that matter … they’re going in the right direction,” the governor said. “But we’re not out of the woods yet.”
If the state begins to see a rise in coronavirus cases in the weeks after sunbathers start gathering at the Jersey Shore, “we’ll have to pull back,” Murphy said. “We’ll have no choice.”
That decision will not only apply to beaches, but to any of the other “baby steps” the state takes to loosen its coronavirus restrictions, according to Murphy.
“We’re doing these in steps and we’re trying to monitor each incrementally, and if we have to pull the brakes we will do that,” he said.
Murphy announced the beach re-openings on Thursday, saying that the decision comes as the state’s coronavirus hospitalization and death rates continue to decline.
Masks will be “recommended strongly” at the beach, but not mandated.
“Frankly, we don’t want to put something down that we don’t feel we can enforce to the max, and we think at the beach that’s going to be hard,” Murphy told Cuomo.
“[Masks] don’t trump social distancing, but they’re a close second,” he added.
The face coverings must be worn “while waiting in line for a slice of boardwalk pizza,” Murphy said Thursday.
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