After rarely leaving the state since New Jersey recorded its first case of the coronavirus early last year, Gov. Phil murphy said on Friday he hopes to spend time on vacation with the rest of his family next week in Italy, where he owns a multi-million dollar villa.
The governor revealed his plans in response to a question from reporters after unveiling his administration’s plans for a statewide mandate for students and staff from preschool to grade 12 to wear masks at the start of the new school year to combat the increase in the number of COVID-19.
“My wife and kids are going on vacation today,” Murphy said. “God knows our family, probably like all families, could spend time together.”
“I am staying behind, at least for a while, to work with these two leaders,” he added, referring to the state commissioners for health and education.
Murphy also said he plans to be in the state on Monday to hold his regular COVID-19 briefing in Trenton.
“I hope I can join (my family) at some point (in Italy), hopefully at some point next week – at least part of the vacation,” he said.
Murphy did not say if he plans to be at the vacation home there, where he has spent time the previous summers since taking office. He and his wife bought the 23-room mansion in 2004 for around $ 7.3 million.
The governor spent 13 days there in 2019 and took 11 vacation days the year before. At that time, he made headlines because Murphy’s office refused to say where the governor would be when he left the state.
The family also owns a house in Berlin, Germany.
Murphy has spent about a dozen days out of state since the first known case of COVID-19 was announced in March 2020.
During his first two years in office, Murphy spent all or part of one in four days out of state, according to public records and a total of his trips by NJ Advance Media.
The governor spent all or part of 93 days outside New Jersey in 2019 and he spent all or part of 100 days outside Garden State in 2018. A dozen days in 2019 also included brief stops in neighboring towns of New York and Philadelphia. like day trips to places like Washington DC and Chicago.
Murphy is in the midst of a battle for re-election, hoping to secure a second term in November against Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli, a former member of the state assembly.
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