Transit systems in New Jersey must cut their capacity in half, and all their passengers must wear face coverings, Gov. Phil Murphy said Saturday.
An executive order in effect at 8 p.m. Monday will also require face coverings for customers picking up takeout from restaurants and bars, the governor said. Face coverings will not be required for curbside pickup or delivery. Restaurants and bars will be required to provide face coverings for workers.
The order will require New Jersey Transit and all private carriers to cut the capacity on all trains, buses, light-rail vehicles and para-transit vehicles to 50% of their maximum, Murphy said. Transit companies must supply workers with gloves and face coverings, he said.
“The order also requires all riders to wear a face covering when traveling either on NJ Transit or on a private carrier, whether it be by bus, train, light rail or paratransit, unless they cannot … for medical reasons,” Murphy said.
Many essential workers get to work by public transit, “and we need to protect them during that trip,” Murphy said.
Face coverings, the governor hastened to add, do not mean medical-grade masks, which must be reserved for emergency responders and which remain in short supply.
State officials are reporting another 251 deaths associated with the coronavirus in New Jersey, where the death toll now stands at 2,183.
Murphy said Saturday that almost 3,600 more people had tested positive, bringing the statewide total to over 58,000.
Murphy called the number of deaths and hospitalizations “daunting” but said he wanted to remind people that hundreds each day leave hospitals having “beaten to some degree” the virus.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.