MTP – NJ Gov. Phil Murphy: National mask requirement ‘not debatable’

Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) joined Andrea Mitchell for an interview this morning on Meet the Press. See below for rush text highlights and full rush transcript.

Meet the Press/NBC News

 

VIDEO: National mask requirement ‘not debatable’

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

Gov. Murphy: “We need a national strategy” to combat the spread of COVID-19: “We’re only as strong as our weakest link right now”

ANDREA MITCHELL: The President downplayed the pandemic in his speeches this weekend, in fact, said that 99% of the cases shows no harm. What is your response to the President’s messaging?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY: Listen, this thing is lethal. New Jersey’s paid an enormous price. We’ve lost over 13,000 confirmed fatalities from COVID-19. We’re starting to see a — small spikes in reinfection from folks coming back from places like Myrtle Beach and as well as in Florida, other hotspots. To me, it says we need a national strategy. We’re only as strong as our weakest link right now. As you mentioned in the, in the outset of the program, I said “We went through hell. We cannot afford to go through hell again.” We need a national strategy I think right now masking has got to be at the core of that.

Gov. Murphy says there should be a national mask requirement, “It’s become almost not even debatable”

ANDREA MITCHELL: And do you think that there should be a national mask requirement?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY: I do. I do, Andrea. It’s become almost not even debatable. Certainly when you’re going out and absolutely indoors. As I’ve mentioned, this virus is a lot more lethal inside than outside, but if you’re leaving your house, put on a mask. I think it ought to be a national, a national requirement.

Says “we have nothing but sympathy” for restaurant owners; “We’ll get there” on indoor dining, “but we’re not ready for it.”

ANDREA MITCHELL: Now with very little warning last week you delayed the reopening of restaurants and I have to tell you, I don’t need to tell you, because I’m sure you’ve been hearing it, that people, restaurant owners, are really upset. Amy Russo, a restaurant owner, told The New York Times, she’s in Asbury Park not that far from you, that, “it’s appalling . . . especially now. We’ve done the buying—we do Sunday for Monday deliveries. We’ve got the food in. It’s insane.” They’re taking a huge hit having bought all that food, the cleaning supplies. What, what do you tell those people?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY: Listen, we have nothing but sympathy for them. Believe me and it’s why we need direct federal cash assistance to states so that we can help those restaurants and small businesses out. But the choice is, either we open inside and or based on the data that we saw and as I said the lethality of this virus inside, or we lose people. We literally lose lives. When you combine indoors, lack of ventilation, sedentary, close proximity, and by definition, you have to take your mask off to eat, those are bad facts and we’re just not there yet. We’ll get there I hope, but we’re not ready for it.

FULL RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Joining me now is Democratic Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey. Governor Murphy, welcome to Meet the Press. I see you are the Jersey Shore. And the beaches behind you look empty. But there are people going to the beaches and many of them are not wearing masks. What is your message to people in New Jersey? And should there be a mandatory mask order?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Hi, good morning, Andrea. And indeed, we’re on the gem of the Jersey Shore here. Most of the beaches are quite crowded. Yes, the answer is unequivocally wear a mask. The virus outside is a lot less lethal than it is inside. But when in doubt, when you’re going out, put on a mask.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

The president downplayed the pandemic in his speeches this weekend. And in fact, said that 99% of the cases show no harm. What is your response to the president’s messaging?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Listen, this thing is lethal. New Jersey’s paid an enormous price. We’ve lost over 13,000 confirmed fatalities from COVID-19. We’re starting to see small spikes in reinfection from folks coming back from places like Myrtle Beach, as well as in Florida, other hot spots. To me it says we need a national strategy. We’re only as strong as our weakest link right now. As you mentioned, in the onset of the program, I said we went through hell. We cannot afford to go through hell again. We need a national strategy I think right now. And masking has got to be at the core of that.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And you and your neighboring states, Governor Cuomo notably in New York, the governor of Connecticut having quarantined against people coming in from hot spots. How do you enforce that?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Well, at one level it’s difficult. We have to ask people to do the right thing. To be responsible. And by the way, New Jerseyans, by the millions have done the right thing since the get-go. So if folks are coming back into our state, if they’ve been traveling to a hot spot or they’re visiting here, as you also mentioned New York and Connecticut, we’re doing this with them as well, we’re asking folks to self-quarantine. We have contact tracers that take their information down. And we try to run every one of these cases to the ground. But it’s mostly a personal responsibility that we’re asking folks to do the right thing.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Have your contact tracers come up with any evidence so far?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Well, I mentioned there was a wedding in Myrtle Beach. And we absolutely have evidence of folks who were at that wedding who came back up to New Jersey. Jersey folks who were visiting there. And we’ve got other cases that we’re running down. That’s the one that’s most recent and most prevalent.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And do you think that there should be a national mask requirement?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

I do. I do, Andrea. It’s become almost not even debatable. Certainly when you’re going out and absolutely indoors. As I mentioned, this virus is a lot more lethal inside than outside. But if you’re leaving your house put on a mask. I think it ought to be a national, a national requirement.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Now with very little warning last week you delayed the reopening of restaurants. And I have to tell you, I don’t need to tell you because I’m sure you’ve been hearing it, that people, restaurant owners, are really upset. Amy Russo, a restaurant owner, told The New York Times — she’s in Asbury Park, not that far from you, that it’s appalling. Especially now, we’ve done the buying, we do Sunday for Monday delivers. We’ve got the food in. It’s insane. They’re taking a huge hit having bought all that food, the cleaning supplies. What do you tell those people?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Listen, we have nothing but sympathy for them. Believe me. It’s why we need direct federal cash assistance to states so that we can help those restaurants and small businesses out. But the choice is either we open inside and — or based on the data that we saw, and as I said, the lethality of this virus inside, or we lose people. We literally lose lives. When you combine indoors, lack of ventilation, sedentary, close proximity. And by definition you have to take your mask off to eat, those are bad facts. And we’re just not there yet. We’ll get there, I hope. But we’re not ready for it.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And are you concerned that after this holiday weekend you’re going to see a spike in New Jersey the way we’ve seen spikes elsewhere after the Memorial Day holiday?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Yeah, Andrea, we’re already seeing a little of that. It’s less because of folks being on the beach and looking at fireworks. We’ve begun to open up the state slowly but surely. We knew there was some risk associated with that. So it’s partly that. It’s partly this coming back to New Jersey from hot spots. So yeah, we’re not out of the woods yet, without any question.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, seeing you there, down there in the Jersey Shore makes us all want to get out there as well. But not to be this year for us. Thank you very much though. Thank you for interrupting your holiday.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY:

Thank you, Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Safe holiday to you.

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