Many months ago, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed multiple executive orders outlining mask usage.  While most people follow, sadly I see people disregard these throughout our state as COVID-19 infections and death totals continue to rise.  New Jersey's not the only one with folks not always wearing masks.  Some entire states have no guidance.  As I write this, there are 15 states with no mask mandates.  Now, a couple of United States Senators have written and proposed legislation called Encouraging Masks for All Act of 2020 that would provide more consistency of guidelines and funding to support.

“Wearing a mask should be considered a moral and health mandate—our primary defense against the coronavirus,” - - Senator Blumenthal.

Here's what we know about the bill:

  • It was co-written by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
  • It outlines scientific data supporting the positive attributes of wearing a mask.
  • It shares expectations on when to wear a mask.
  • It does not give guidelines for fining or incarcerating people that fail to follow, however, it does say that folks could be prevented from entering federal buildings/grounds for not complying.
  • It appropriates $5 billion to award grants to be used for their public health emergency fund.  "States, territories, and Tribal governments" would all be eligible.
  • It appropriates $75 million to award grants to promote face coverings.  "States, territories, and Tribal governments" would all be eligible.
  • his would go for 2021 AND 2022, kind of a grim realization that they don't believe this will soon be over.
  • It would be terminated when the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases determines that the threat of transmission is no longer problematic.

My assessment (FWIW), this isn't something that's even a paper lion.  It' does not offer any real consequences to those that don't follow the rules.  I believe it's just a way to wake more people up and let them know that this is a serious problem.  Could this really become law?  It's unlikely.  It'd need to pass through the house and senate and it wouldn't appear they'd have the votes.

Click here to read the full legislation.

Click here for the press release.

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