Life and Death in a Time of Inconvenience


Phil Murphy defended his move today to close parks, saying he didn’t take the action “to be a jerk.”

It all had to do with the facts at hand.

The governor at his daily briefing pointed to one of the nicest days of what has been a rather cloudy, if not gloomy, spring. That was two weeks ago this coming Friday, March 27, when he said police and
rangers reported an “enormous amount of gatherings” at parks around the state.

Moreover, the governor said there were an “uncomfortable” amount of out-of-state license plates. He didn’t explain today why that was a problem, although previously he has raised concerns about some nearby states not having the strong “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” mandates New Jersey has.

With some Republicans and others suggesting closing parks may be counterproductive to keeping people healthy, Murphy stressed that the decision announced earlier this week was days in the making and not
done on a “whim.”

“This is not a life sentence,” he said, looking forward to an unspecified day when it will be business as usual in the parks.

In the meantime, the governor acknowledged more people will do their running, walking and biking on city and town streets.

Saying he knows there’s a “consequence” to his move, the governor imitated a school crossing guard by telling people to “be careful.”

A bit later he was asked if joggers in the street should wear masks.

No, the governor said. He said those exercising in the streets should do nothing to detract from their vision.

So, you should wear a mask when you just leave the house, you must wear one to go to the supermarket, but don’t wear one when jogging around the block.

If all this sounds a bit confusing, it is.

But as the governor said at the top of today’s briefing, this is the way it has to be.

Or as he put it, “This can’t be a time of convenience.”

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