Face coverings will be required inside public establishments starting Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday. He also addressed photos of him without a face covering interacting with well-wishers in Virginia Beach over the weekend.
At a briefing, Northam said that anywhere people can congregate in groups — including but not limited to stores, restaurants, barbershops, government buildings and public transportation — they must wear face coverings. These are the few exceptions:
People who are eating or drinking at a restaurant.
People who are exercising.
People who have a health condition that prohibits a face covering.
Those who are under the age of 10, although Northam strongly recommended children over 3 years old to wear one, if possible.
The governor said the order will be enforced by the Virginia Department of Health, not law enforcement, though Northam noted the penalty can be a Class I misdemeanor.
“This is about people’s health; it’s not about locking people up in jail and giving them large fines,” he said.