On board or overboard? Mixed reaction to Virginia’s new face mask requirement

Mask requirements go into effect on Friday across Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. – Starting Friday, masks will be required inside public places in Virginia.

“I think it's a good idea,” said Maria Diaz, who lives in Roanoke.

“I don't think there should have to be an order. I think we should automatically care about each other,” said Jessica Miller, who lives in Goodview.

“Stay home if you don't want to wear a mask,” said Marieska Carter, who lives in Roanoke.

As face coverings go from a recommendation to a requirement, some people are getting on board, but others said it’s overboard.

“I think we should be fine just going on with our personal choices,” said Richard Kovacic, who lives in Roanoke.

“I mean, if you feel like you don't want to be around somebody that doesn't have a mask on, then don't go around those people,” said Mark Williams, who owns Doomsday Tactical Supply.

Williams said Gov. Ralph Northam’s order doesn’t make sense. He’s concerned because he said it brings up other legal issues and because he’s a business owner.

“If we put a mask on and carry a firearm, we're committing a felony which takes our gun rights away,” Williams said.

Williams said he’s been following the governor’s guidelines at Doomsday Tactical Supply, taking steps like capping the number of people inside and adding protective barriers between workers and customers.

“I think he went too far,” Williams said.

Doomsday posted a sign on its door Wednesday telling customers if workers see you without a mask, they'll assume it's because you have a medical condition.

“If you have a medical condition, you don't have to wear a mask so I can't ask what their medical condition is. It's against the law. So what do I do? I have to let them in. I'm not going to discriminate,” Williams said.

The governor has said health officials will enforce this mandate.

10 News reached out to the health department for clarification. VDH Director of Communications Maria Reppas released the following statement:

"VDH has the power to enforce egregious patron/customer violations through a court order, which is punishable by a Class One misdemeanor. Many businesses also have face covering requirements for their employees as outlined in Phase One restrictions (restaurants, salons, etc.), which are enforced by the health department and the relevant regulatory agency.

We are not looking to put anyone in jail -- we are focused on education, and we hope and expect that Virginians will do the right thing."

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