With many non-essential businesses starting up with curbside service, and the re-opening of the Jersey Shore just a couple of days away, Gov. Phil Murphy last week said that wearing face coverings in public will help the state reopen faster in the weeks and months ahead.

Masks or face coverings are required on workers and customers inside stores and they are mandated for workers in health care and long-term care facilities.

Murphy said he’s become “a big mask guy.”

"It’s for your benefit not for mine, right? So I’m not spewing droplets on you within 6 feet," he said.

Dr. Tina Tan, the state epidemiologist, said the primary benefit of wearing a cloth or surgical mask is that it protects other people from the wearer, who may have the coronavirus but be asymptomatic. But there are added benefits.

“Sometimes the mask is a nice reminder for us to not touch your face. Your hands might be dirty. If you accidentally touch your face you could potentially introduce virus into your mouth or your nose," she said.

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State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said if you spot someone in a supermarket not wearing a mask, confronting them yourself is not a good idea.

“The most prudent thing is to let the store manager or operator know. We don’t want to see physical or verbal altercations at supermarkets," he said last week.

People with certain health concerns are exempt from the face-covering requirement. The executive order says that in these cases, store management would have to accommodate the person.

Police across the state have arrested numerous people who have refused to cover their faces and then refused to leave a store when confronted by an employee.

Face coverings are optional for people walking in streets or parks. Murphy said he'd prefer people wear them anyway, although any requirement to do so would be difficult to enforce, he said.

Jeff Deminski's 10 favorite face mask selfies

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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