NJ Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Make Failure to Wear Mask in Stores a Crime

With ongoing debates over wearing masks leading to many Americans refusing to wear one in public during the ongoing pandemic, Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo and Valerie Vainieri Huttle have introduced a bill making it illegal for customers to enter stores without a mask in an effort to increase mask usage in New Jersey.

“Mounting evidence from previous and continued research shows the efficacy of wearing a mask in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even recently been cited as saying he believes the pandemic could be brought under control in a matter of one to two months if “we could get everybody to wear a mask right now.”

Although 75 percent of Americans support face mask requirements in public, more than 15 percent rarely or never wear a mask outside their homes.

Under the bill, it would be considered a petty disorderly persons offense for someone to enter or remain in a New Jersey store without a mask on if the store has signage indicating a mask requirement. The bill’s stipulations would remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency and state of emergency declared in Executive Order No. 103.

Upon the bill’s introduction and referral to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the sponsors issued the following statements:

“Far too many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been needlessly and dangerously politicized,” said Assemblyman Caputo (D-Essex). “We need to look at the facts based on what we know right now, which is that wearing a mask around other people – especially indoors – significantly reduces the spread of this deadly virus. That means this is truly a matter of life and death which we cannot take lightly. Although many residents have been following the Governor’s mask mandate, those who aren’t put us all at risk. There needs to be some sort of penalty to drive home the point that this mandate is not optional. One way or another, we’re all in this pandemic together, and must all do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.”

“We know what it takes to reduce the transmission of COVID-19: wearing face coverings in public and maintaining a safe distance from others when possible,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “As New Jersey continues to enter into our ‘new normal’ we must ensure that we are doing all that we can to keep our communities safe on the road back. Wearing a mask in stores is critical to keeping our business owners, their staff and customers safe. Wearing a mask is a show of respect for the health of others around you as well as the sacrifices that have been made during this difficult time. I believe that this legislation is an important step in ensuring that New Jersey continues on the right track towards recovery.”


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There are 20 Comments to "NJ Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Make Failure to Wear Mask in Stores a Crime"

  • Yesko says:

    Crazy people….

  • TruthSeeker says:

    We must do everything in our power to stop this bill from passing. This is such a slippery slope they are removing our freedoms one by one! Is there an expiration date to this mandate? Or is this meant to be put in place indefinitely? Do we really want our children growing up in a world where everyone’s face is covered? What are the psychological ramifications for children and babies who rely on facial expressions for human connection? Hashem yerachaim! This is SCARY. Forget the fact that masks don’t work to protect from viruses. Forget that masks have negative health consequences. We live in AMERICA. My body my choice. We better speak up now or this country will be unrecognizable.

  • My Thoughts says:

    IF you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t but be prepared to be asked to leave a store when you come in without one on. If Everyone else is wearing one, and it is suggested that you wear one when you are in a store, just put one on. What can it hurt? It keeps you safe. If you are sick, Just stay home. If you can not go out and be adults, stay home and leave the police out of it.

  • A Lang says:

    I do not comment on this bill but upon American pluralism.

    There are five principles of democracy. 1) The fundamental worth of the individual 2) Equality 3) Majority rule, minority rights (minority has the right to become a majority) 4) Compromise and 5) Individual Freedom.

    These principles merged into what we call American pluralism which balances intensity of interest against numbers. This is manifest in the lobbyists, interest groups and too much money in campaigns. Nonetheless, a cohesive majority will defeat vested interests.

    Pluralism might be a consequence of the two party system that is election-oriented rather than issue-oriented, which itself is a consequence of our winner take all congressional districts (there is just one winner and one loser, no third place)

    This is why Democrats might be on one side of an issue one year and Republics on the same side (of course with modifications) another year. This causes cynicism but it how the system is designed. Parties essentially teams, for election, rather than teams founded upon interests, seek widespread support across the political spectrum and interests, keeping American politics in the center (the communists never had a chance, not even by a long-shot) and have kept the peace for 200 years. The Civil War happened because the Whig party disintegrated so that Northern Whigs became the Republicans, issue oriented, northern Democrats split with Southern Democrats also into issue oriented parties (four parties in 1860). Think of how Clay, Webster and Calhoun kept the Union together.

    With this in mind, try to understand why this or that passes the legislature, why unions have power, or any other issue. It is all about American pluralism. Both parties trying to appeal to the same voters (or basically the voters rooting for their team), like in Britain (also with single district constituencies) a government and a loyal opposition.

  • Jimmy says:

    I can’t imagine telling my cellmate that I was arrested for not wearing a mask. Even my court-appointed lawyer will laugh at me.

  • A Lang says:

    The last two sentences have typos.

    It is all about American pluralism [and the two-party system]. Both parties trying to appeal to the same voters (or basically the voters [not otherwise] rooting for their team), like in Britain (also with single district constituencies), a government and a loyal opposition.

    I would add that the resulting stability and balancing of interests has contributed to the American economy becoming the strongest in the world.

  • Teacher says:

    I would imagine that the penalty will be a fine not jail time. The idea was shocking back in March but history shows the extremes we sometimes take, however distasteful, when the nation is under attack, specifically the Japanese-American interments. Also some convictions under the Espionage Act in WWI despite the dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.

  • My Take says:

    It’s a crime to force people to wear masks,

  • Moses Davidson says:


  • My Body My Choice says:

    What happened to “My body My choice”? Does that only apply when the Democrats benefit for their agenda?
    We all know Covid19 is real. They should educate the public on proper health care and hygiene.
    We live in a country of freedoms. We have the freedom to choose to go out in public. We should have the freedom to CHOOSE whether or not to wear a mask. Nobody should be able to tell us what to do to our bodies.
    If that scares certain people, they can stay home, or choose to wear their own mask.
    Cigarettes are still legal, even though they pose a health threat. Legally, the government can’t tell people not to smoke.
    How can something like this actually happen in the United states of America?

    • Community Member says:

      And private businesses have the freedom to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason they see fit.

  • Linda Bragg says:

    what if a person cannot wear a face cover because of medical issues affecting breathing?

    • Community Member says:

      Most people using this excuse have absolutely nothing wrong with them but selfishness. There is no way for businesses to know who is telling the truth and who is shamelessly exploiting a real condition. And by the way, businesses CAN ask what your medical condition actually is. They are not bound by HIPAA laws.

  • alex says:

    “my body my choice” so you would be ok with me getting drunk and driving around town?

  • Food protester says:

    I’m not shopping for food I’m just protesting for food then I don’t need a mask!!

  • Chaim says:

    Next is that they pull you over for not wearing a mask in your car. Btw, where do you think they’re going to enforce this? Not to neighborhoods where they will be attacked – they’re coming straight to OUR stores in our neighborhoods where they know that they are safe to do what they want with relative ease. To think that for the next 2 years everyone will need to be masked and what that will do to our world is scary. Next they will invade your Beis Medrash and your simcha halls.

  • Community Member says:

    And it is incredibly selfish of you NOT to wear a mask for 15 minutes in a store. It’s amazing how many people suddenly have “medical conditions” If you have a medical condition serious enough to not have to wear a mask because you cant breathe, then you absolutely should. not be out and about.

  • Daniel says:

    TruthSeeker, do you want to be there to SEE your children growing up? Cover up! And yes, in America, your body, your choice, but MY body is NOT your choice. You have no right to endanger me while I go about my regular, normal daily activities. Cover up! Yes, it DOES prevent the spread of the disease, and your are only asked to cover up when in public spaces near other people. Your children will still get to learn read facial expressions.