Mask up in New Jersey or pay up: Proposed bill makes not wearing one a misdemeanor

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NUTLEY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — There's a move in New Jersey to make it crime to go out without wearing a mask.

Face coverings are, in fact, ordered by Gov. Phil Murphy but there's little teeth in that order. Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo of Nutley wants to change that, at least when someone enters a business without a mask.

“No one has the right to harm another individual by not complying with the executive order wearing masks,” Caputo told KYW Newsradio. “And this bill is intended to protect customers, employees and owners of businesses from unnecessarily being exposed.”

His bill would allow police to cite a violator with trespassing, a misdemeanor that would end with a ticket and fine. It would be up to locals to enforce it and the law would expire when the health emergency is lifted.

“I think it’s a reasonable request,” Caputo added. “The CDC recommends it. The state of New Jersey recommends it. And you have people that are defying it. So this is a way to try to get them to comply.”

He hopes the bill will be fast tracked to the governor, given infection rates across the state are on the way up again.