Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he “can’t imagine” telling protestors to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference Monday, Politico reported.
The governor, who along with other leaders have warned residents to avoid large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, said he could not advise protestors to “ignore systemic racism” and stay in their homes.
“I can’t imagine what it would look like if we said to people, ‘Actually, you have to stay in. You have to ignore systemic racism — I’m sorry, just ignore it. Stay in,’” the governor said, according to Politico. “I can’t imagine what that looks like as it relates to public safety.”
The coronavirus has hit New Jersey harder than any state except New York, the publication reported. More than 12,200 residents of New Jersey have died due to the virus since March 4. The state will enter Phase Two of the governor’s reopening plan on June 15.
Phase Two will allow nonessential retailers and restaurants to offer in-person services on June 15 but prevent hair salons and barber shops from opening until June 22.
“We are ready to move to Stage Two of our restart and recovery,” Murphy said June 1. “And, assuming we do not see a precipitous backslide which would put the brakes to our plans — and we reserve that right — we will enter Stage Two on Monday, June 15,” Murphy said during his daily coronavirus press briefing in Trenton.
Many New Jersey businesses have received citations for failure to follow Murphy’s executive orders, Politico reported, while at least two protests against the lockdown have been charged with violating New Jersey’s stay-at-home order.
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