A New Jersey city is weighing an ordinance that would fine people $250 for refusing to wear a mask outdoors in places where social distancing isn’t possible.
The measure working its way through the Hoboken City Council comes as officials there are concerned about mask usage in public spaces, according to CBS New York.
“A lot of visitors on Washington Street, a lot of visitors on the waterfront are just not complying,” Councilman Phil Cohen told the station, describing some of the popular areas in Hoboken, which is located across the river from New York City.
People sit at outdoor tables in June on the first day of the reopening of restaurants following a coronavirus lockdown in Hoboken, NJ. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
“I think once people start getting warnings, realizing there are financial consequences to not wearing a mask, that compliance will increase and that really is the goal here,” he added.
But not everyone on the council is convinced such an ordinance would work.
“Trying to enforce this mask rule is going to be very, very difficult. If someone’s wearing their mask this way, does that constitute a fine?” Michael Russo, another councilman, told CBS New York.
A cyclist rides past a newly installed sign encouraging social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus along the Hudson River Walkway in Hoboken, N.J. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
The station reports that the measure passed an initial vote and will face public comment next Wednesday.
If it’s ultimately passed by the council, the city’s mayor would then have to sign it into law.
New Jersey, as of August 12, has reported 185,475 overall coronavirus cases and 14,037 deaths.