When it comes to outdoor gatherings for graduations, state Sen. Tony Bucco is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to follow the science.
Or, at least, be consistent with his other executive orders.
A year after essentially every graduation was held virtually, Bucco (R-Denville) is looking to get students — and their loved ones — back together on graduation day.
“It makes no sense that many outdoor events continue to be limited to 200 people, while a few select others have no limits at all,” he said.
“If Gov. Murphy thinks the science supports not having gathering limits for weddings or funerals, the same science should apply to all types of outdoor events, including graduations. The coronavirus doesn’t know the difference.”
Under the governor’s current executive orders, general outdoor gatherings, including graduation ceremonies, must be limited to 200 people and social distancing must be practiced.
There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, funerals, memorial services, religious activities or political activities.
Bucco said this is the issue.
“People find Gov. Murphy’s inconsistent executive orders to be incredibly frustrating, and rightfully so,” he said. “Before another graduation season is ruined with unnecessary restrictions, Gov. Murphy should lift the outdoor gathering limits for everyone.”
Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) joined Bucco in the call.
“Parents want to celebrate their children’s graduations without the gathering restrictions that don’t apply to other types of ceremonies and public events,” she said.
“We know outdoor events with social distancing and masks pose little risk, especially when you factor in our progress with vaccinations. At this point, the 200-person limit for outdoor graduation ceremonies is an unnecessary inconvenience that Gov. Murphy must address.”
Corrado said it’s a matter of following the science — and precedent.
“Sen. Bucco is 100% right: If it’s safe to hold an outdoor wedding reception, funeral or political rally without gathering limits, it’s safe to hold a graduation, too,” she said.
“Gov. Murphy shouldn’t diminish the importance of graduation ceremonies to our students and their families. At some point, he’ll have to let people get back to living their lives.”