Reopening New Jersey: Mask Up Newark to enforce outdoor mask wearing in governor's executive order

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The city of Newark says it is enforcing the governor's executive order requiring people to wear masks in outdoor public spaces. The mayor and public safety director say their #MaskUpNewark promotion will help them in their enforcement efforts.

"While the risk of COVID-19 transmission is reduced in outdoor spaces more than indoors, people gathered outside in groups who aren't practicing social distance still create a danger of spreading this virus from person-to-person. That's why wearing masks outdoors has become mandatory," Mayor Ras Baraka explained. "Protecting the people of the City of Newark against the spread of COVID-19 is our primary goal. We have to continue to work hard to save our community."

#MaskUpNewark asks everyone to step up and wear a mask at all times in public and to tell those they know to do the same.

Director Anthony Ambrose says police will begin enforcement by first warning individuals observed not wearing masks at outdoor public spaces when social distancing-by maintaining at least six feet distance between individuals-is not being practiced or isn't feasible.

Police will begin issuing summonses beginning Thursday, July 17th .

"COVID-19 poses a credible threat to the safety of our residents," Director Ambrose said. "While it's natural for people to spend time congregating at outdoor public spaces during the summer months, we must make every effort to limit exposure to this deadly virus," he added. "Police will remind people of the dangers of not wearing masks when they are observed outdoors, in public spaces and not practicing social distancing before enforcing the order with citations."

Outdoor areas defined by the order include food or beverage establishments offering in-person services, outdoor bars, beaches, boardwalks, and recreational and entertainment businesses that open their outdoor areas to the public.

These areas do not include childcare centers and facilities and youth summer camps. The order excludes children under 2-years old, people eating or drinking at outdoor dining areas, and cases when wearing a mask would inhibit an individual's health.

Further, certain practices and competitions for sports defined as "low risk" in the New Jersey State Department of Health's "Guidance for Sports Activities" are permitted in outdoor and indoor settings.

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