Face masks now mandatory, at times, in Virginia

Announcement came during Tuesday’s coronavirus update

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians are now required to wear face masks at certain times.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the requirement, which went into effect May 29, during Tuesday’s coronavirus update.

[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The health department’s interactive map]

Masks are required:

  • Everyone ages 10 and up
  • Inside all brick and mortar retail establishments. Both essential and non-essential stores, including grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Inside all personal care & grooming establishments
  • Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within 6 feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than 10 minutes
  • Inside food & beverage establishments, except when eating
  • On public transportation
  • State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services
  • Entertainment or public amusement establishments, when permitted to open

There are some exceptions to this requirement. Masks are not required:

  • For children younger than 2 years old
  • While eating or drinking
  • While exercising
  • If you have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the mask without help
  • If your health conditions prohibit wearing a face covering
  • If you’re communicating with a hearing-impaired person, needing your mouth to be visible

While everyone 10 and older is required to wear a mask, the governor is strongly encouraging everyone older than 2 years old to wear a face covering.

Enforcement of these requirements will be done through the Virginia Department of Health, rather than law enforcement agencies.

With regards to when these requirements would be lifted, the governor said that as soon as its safe to do so, he will.

The governor’s chief of staff, Clark Mercer, said that enforcement is designed for business that are grossly negligent of these requirements.

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