Up until today, one of the challenges of shopping was finding toilet paper.
Now it’s shopping itself.
Phil Murphy just ordered that supermarkets limit shoppers to 50 percent of a store’s maximum capacity and that all shoppers wear protective masks.
This is a big change to every day life and another sign of “the war” the governor says he’s determined to win.
Many supermarkets have operated – at least somewhat – on a “business as usual” approach save for mandating “social distancing” as much as possible.
They’ve been crowded and in many cases, employees have not been wearing facial masks or gloves. Most food and other supplies have been plentiful. Besides toilet paper, exceptions have been other paper
products and cleaning solvents.
The order also mandates that employees wear gloves and masks.
With supermarkets and other food stores clearly essential businesses, the governor was asked what happens if a shopper enters a store without a mask.
“I hope people get asked to leave,” Murphy said.
But it’s not that simple.
Lawyers are always available at the daily briefing and today was no exception. It was explained that stores should make exceptions for customers who can’t, or perhaps won’t, wear masks. This would include infants.
This apparently means supermarkets must set special hours for those individuals to shop. None of this is going to be easy for either supermarkets or their shoppers.
But Murphy seems undaunted.
Reflecting on today’s order combined with one yesterday closing state and county parks, the governor said, “We have to tighten the ship up.”
Today’s stats were sobering – 3,088 new COVID-19 cases statewide and an additional 275 deaths.