Murphy appears to be getting closer to mandating face coverings outdoors

File photos Gov. Phil Murphy, wearing a face mask at a briefing.

Although Gov. Phil Murphy called for a national mandate on the wearing of face coverings this weekend during a national TV interview, he said Monday he’s not ready to implement a statewide requirement in New Jersey.

But he may be close.

Murphy, speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing, was asked numerous times about such a regulation. And, while he said he didn’t want to break any news on the subject, he said it is something the state is looking at.

“We were the first state in America to mandate masking indoors, and I’m glad we did,” he said. “And we’re constantly assessing and reassessing the variety of the advisories and recommendations that we have out there.

“We’re looking at outside masking as we speak.”

How it will work remains a question.

“You want to put something in place that you believe you have a high likelihood of ability to enforce,” he said. “This one is more challenging than some others.”

Murphy repeated a plea for more guidance from the federal government.

“We’re only as strong right now as a nation as the weakest link,” he said.  “We really need some national parameters that everybody sticks to.”

The need, Murphy said, is great.

“The virus is a lot less lethal outdoors than it is indoors, but that does not mean it is not lethal,” he said. “It does not mean that you can’t still spread it.”

Murphy repeatedly said he’s proud of the fact he feels New Jersey was the first state to mandate mask wearing inside. He hinted that mandate may soon expand outdoors.

“It’s something we’re looking at in real time,” he said.

Read more from ROI-NJ on coronavirus: