Expanded mask mandate takes effect in Virginia

Posted at 2:19 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 20:30:22-05

NORFOLK, Va. - An expanded mask mandate requiring children five and up to wear masks has now taken effect in Virginia.

Gov. Northam announced new restrictions on Friday as the number of COVID-19 cases climbs across the nation and in the Commonwealth.

A mask mandate has been in effect since May in Virginia, requiring people age 10 and over to wear masks in indoor public places. The new guidelines reduce the age to five years old.

"We know that children don't have the best cough and sneeze etiquette. We know that this is spread through respiratory droplets, so it would definitely help reduce the risk in children," said Dr. Ryan Light of TPMG Greenbrier Family Medicine.

Northam's office didn't respond to a request for more information on why the mandate was expanded. Various health organizations offer different perspective. The CDC says children over the age of two should wear masks, but the World Health Organization says toddlers shouldn't have to wear them.

The WHO says kids over the age of five should wear them if there's widespread transmission in their communities.

If parents are worried their kids won't keep the masks on, Dr. Light has some advice. "You're going to have to look around and figure out what masks work best and try to make it fun and exciting. Try to some of those with characters or something like that that makes them feel like they're part of the decision making," he said.

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