VIRGINIA - Starting this Friday, Governor Northam says you will be required to wear a face covering if you go out in public in the state of Virginia.
Northam says anyone over 10 years old must wear a mask while in public indoor settings, in places like the grocery store, public transportation areas, shops and restaurants.
You can remove it while eating or drinking. It can be a class one misdemeanor if the new order is violated.
Northam explained that he doesn't want police to enforce the mask order and instead tasked the Virginia Department of Health to do so.
But the governor’s legal counsel said the state would pursue someone who violated the order repeatedly.
Health Officials say they don't expect businesses to enforce the mask order but that if someone came in and refused to wear a mask for a reason other than the allowed exceptions, they believe the business owner should talk with the customer about the importance of wearing a mask.
If the customer still refused, officials say the business could then deny them service. However, the business does not have to deny them service.
The Virginia Department of Health will not have people monitoring nor inspecting businesses to see if people are complying. There is a hotline set-up to receive complaints. That number to call is 1-877-ASK-VDH3.
“This is a matter of public health, and any enforcement that is needed will be done by our health department. This is not a criminal matter,” said Northam. “I’m not looking for people to get in trouble by not wearing their masks, but I am looking for people to please do the right thing. I’m asking people to respect one another.”