April 8 (UPI) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, along with the leaders of several cities and counties throughout the country, has ordered residents to wear face masks while shopping at certain essential businesses to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Murphy’s executive order said that in addition to requiring New Jersey residents to wear face masks inside grocery stores, all essential retail stores must limit the number of customers inside to 50 percent of their approved capacity.
“Exceptions include projects at our hospitals and schools, in our transportation and public utility sector, the building of affordable housing, other individual housing sites that can adhere to strict limits on the number of workers on-site, and other limited instances,” he tweeted.
The City of Miami also issued an order Wednesday requiring all employees and customers at grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and convenience stores to wear face masks beginning at midnight. It also applies to food delivery and construction workers.
Miami Beach implemented a similar order Tuesday, Key West says stores with more than 10 people inside must require masks and Aventura’s order will go into effect noon Friday.
San Bernardino County, Calif., ordered all residents to wear face masks when leaving home and also required all religious services to be online-only.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered all workers and customers at businesses still open to wear non-medical grade face coverings and masks.
Garcetti announced the order Tuesday in a broadcast from City Hall, stating it will be in effect from Friday and all employers will have to provide their employees with the face coverings.
He said the worker protection order was issued so the city’s non-medical essential workers can have “more tools to stay safe and to keep us all healthy.”
“Every Angeleno will share this responsibility with the employers to keep workers and everybody else safe, which is why we are requiring customers to wear face coverings when entering those businesses,” Garcetti said. “If you’re shopping for groceries, if you’re picking up your prescriptions or visiting any essential businesses and if you’re not covering your face by Friday morning an essential business can refuse you service.”
Dozens of businesses are included in the order, which follows Garcetti last week only urging employees to wear face coverings.
Along with the face coverings mandate, employers must permit employees to wash their hands every half hour and ensure they have access to clean, sanitary restrooms stocked with all necessary cleansing products recommended by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the order reads.
As the order directs employers to implement social distancing measures for all who enter the places of business, Garcetti is urging retail businesses to install plexiglass dividers between cashiers and customers.
“We know there isn’t yet enough plexiglass to go around but we do hope to work to get as much of that as possible,” he said, adding that it is an encouragement “we hope employers will adopt.”
The order came as county health officials announced 550 additional cases of COVID-19, increasing its total to 6,910. Its death toll also climbed by 22 over the previous day for 169 deaths.
“Simply put, we are doubling our deaths still every four days,” he said. “So, for anybody who thinks that our work is done or that we can see that light just in front of us at the end of the tunnel, we still have a way to walk together, and I need your help.”