TRENTON, NJ – As we reported this weekend in our live coverage from Cape May, New Jersey residents were enjoying their new freedom to be human beings again, but for Phil Murphy, it was a little too much freedom.
“A little bit of tough love I would be lying if I didn’t say two things one is we all acknowledge an enormous amount of frustration and all the steps we have taken,” Murphy said. “It is the pain of discipline where the alternative is the pain of regret so as much as this been has been tough on all of you and all of us it’s not been a lot of fun the alternative is completely unacceptable the second piece of tough love .”
Murphy said he and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan were watching social media videos and examining photos on social media of people violating his social distancing guidelines.
“Pat and I were discussing this a few minutes ago at viral videos of bars or beaches or boardwalks this weekend and draw a conclusion that folks have let their hair down a little bit too much,” he said. “So, folks see we can’t do that we’re taking these steps based on extraordinarily positive data. We don’t want to look like the other states that have gone through hell and now they’re going back through hell. We just don’t want to do that we want to allow ourselves to do that it will take the steps as necessary to make sure that we don’t do that.”
Murphy said if COVID-19 numbers spike, he’ll hit the pause button on the recovery.
“Pain of discipline and not the pain of regret folks and the hard decisions we made were the right ones so as a result and please don’t let your hair down folks please stay true to this we are ready to take our next step,” he added. “If we have to pause it, we will.”If we feel uncomfortable with the implementation of the guidance we will hit pause on the current plan.”
Murphy criticized some restaurants who were riding the line on his indoor gathering limitations and outdoor dining executive order.
“I saw some packed beaches this weekend. I didn’t see anybody willfully doing anything silly there weren’t a lot of face masks the face-covering compliance is very low,” he said. “I don’t mean sitting at your table with your family at the outdoor restaurant. I mean as a general matter, we’d love to see that get amped up but I didn’t see outside a lot of examples weren’t really concerned me. What I’m concerned about close proximity under an awning maybe with a flap of a tent down. That that is concerning as it is, we are presenting the data as we see it every day we’re gonna we’re gonna watch it like a hawk.”