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Hoboken Considers $250 Fine For Citizens Not Wearing Masks Outside: 'I Just Think It's Gonna Be Unenforceable'

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Masks are already mandated in New Jersey, but one city is taking it a step further, saying if you don't wear one outside where you can't social distance, you could face a fine.

Walk on Washington Street in Hoboken and you'll see some wearing masks and others not, but for Mara McGowan masking up is simple.

"It's not just for me, it's for them too," McGown told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.

Face coverings are already required inside establishments, but now the city is considering an ordinance to fine $250 to those who do not wear one outside and in places they can't stay six feet apart.

"In places you can't social distance, yeah I agree with that, like the waterfront," said McGowan.

"Fining people, ehhh, a little extreme," said Ray Graglia of Rutherford.

"I just think it's gonna be unenforceable and I think it's too much," said a Hoboken resident named Chris.

Hoboken City Councilman Phil Cohen said the city has been monitoring mask usage in public spaces and there are concerns.

"A lot of visitors on Washington Street, a lot of visitors on the waterfront are jut not complying," said Cohen.


Mimicking Governor Phil Murphy's mask mandate, this wouldn't apply in situations such as sitting in a park with family, working out or outdoor dining, as long as you keep away from others. But, when you're walking down the street, you can't guarantee it. Cohen said education and warning would come before summonses are handed out.

"I think once people start getting warnings, realizing there are financial consequences to not wearing a mask, that compliance will increase and that really is the goal here," said Cohen.

"Trying to enforce this mask rule is gonna be very, very difficult. If someone's wearing their mask this way, does that constitute a fine?" said Michael Russo of the Hoboken City Council.

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Councilman Russo said although the city council unanimously passed the measure in its first reading, that won't be the case the second time around. He plans to vote it down.

"I agree with the use of masks. However, this ordinance I think is a little bit too far," said Russo.

The public can still comment virtually next Wednesday. If the city council passes the law, it would need the mayor's signature and a spokesperson said he is on board.

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