Watch: Gov. Northam orders Virginians to wear face coverings in public starting Friday

Posted at 6:09 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 06:39:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Ralph Northam announced during Tuesday's press conference that starting Friday, Virginians must wear a face covering while in public.

Final details surrounding the governor’s decision were announced Tuesday afternoon. This comes after Northam was seen not wearing his face mask at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront over the weekend.

Northam said Virginia Beach performed well this weekend and he did not see large crowds like other parts of the country.

He says Virginia Beach should be a model for the rest of the country on how to open the right way.

Northam says he is working with other beach cities such as Norfolk and Hampton as to how they will make preparations to open their beaches this weekend.

Northern Virginia and Accomack are now able to move into Phase One based on meeting the metrics requirement, according to the governor.

As everyone moves into Phase One, Northam is now requiring all Virginians to wear a face covering in public starting this Friday.

Face masks are required on public transportation, stores, restaurants or anywhere where people can congregate in groups.

Northam says this order is in response to the science that shows it spreads less rapidly when everyone is wearing face coverings.

Face coverings are not required while eating, drinking, exercising or if one has certain heath conditions.

The mandate is not required for children under 10 years old; however, doctors recommend face coverings for children over 3 years old.

Face coverings do not need to be medical grade and can instead be made at home, Northam says.

As far as how the mandate will be enforced, the governor says law enforcement will not enforce the rule.

Northam says he is not looking for people to get in criminal trouble, but just wants people to do the right thing. "I'm not looking for people to get in trouble by not wearing a mask, but I am looking for people to do the right thing," he said.

The CDC and Virginia health officials have recommended wearing face cloth face coverings for many weeks, citing research that shows coronavirus is easily spread person to person by droplets expelled when someone speaks or coughs.

"I think it's fair to say that people have gotten very creative with their facial protections," Northam said Friday. "Be ready on Tuesday to go out and about in your business when it's essential with facial protection."

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