Face Coverings Required In Public Beginning Friday
After previously implementing phase one reopening procedures in more than 2/3 of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced this week he will mandate face masks in public with medical exemptions beginning on Friday May 29.
Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order Sixty-Three, requiring Virginians to wear “face coverings” in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A face covering includes anything that covers your nose and mouth, such as a mask, scarf, or bandana. Medical-grade masks and personal protective equipment should be reserved for health care professionals. Under the Governor’s executive order, any person age ten and older must wear a mask or face covering at all times while entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time in the following public settings:
Personal care and grooming businesses
Essential and non-essential brick and mortar retail including grocery stores and pharmacies
Food and beverage establishments
Entertainment or public amusement establishments when permitted to open
Train stations, bus stations, and on intrastate public transportation, including in waiting or congregating areas
State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services
Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within six feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than ten minutes
The face-covering guidelines include some exemptions.
Exemptions to face-mask guidelines include:
*Children over the age of two are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering to the extent possible.
The Governor said in a press conference this week that the CDC would be in charge of enforcement, not local law enforcement. However Law enforcement agencies are concerned that stores will feel obligated to enforce the rules which may result in public disturbances, which would increase calls to law enforcement.
Here is a local Virginia attorney’s legal opinion and update concerning masks and shop notice requirements. Anderson and Associates discusses retail shop notices for mask requirements.
The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Three and Order of Public Health Emergency Five is available here.
The text of amended Executive Order Fifty-One is available here.