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Northam explains no mask at Virginia Beach: ‘I take full responsibility’

Posted at 2:27 PM, May 26, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam apologized for not wearing a mask during his visit to the Virginia Beach oceanfront Saturday afternoon.

Northam has repeatedly urged Virginia residents to cover their faces in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Democrat didn’t heed his own plea.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Northam explained why he didn’t have on a mask and why he posed mask-less for photographs alongside beachgoers.

“I visited the oceanfront with the intention of speaking to the mayor, thanking first responders and ambassadors and seeing how the reopening plan was working. I also planned to take a few questions from the press. On my way to talk with the reporters some well-wishers came up to me and asked to take pictures,” said Northam.

Critics on social media chided Northam for not practicing what he has preached.

“I was not prepared because my mask was in the car. I take full responsibility for that. People held me accountable. And I appreciate that,” said Northam. “In the future. When I'm out in the public, I will be better prepared. We're all forming new habits and routines and we're all adjusting to this new normal.”

The governor said Virginia Beach’s reopening went well and the city successfully executed their plan to comply with social distancing guidelines on the beach and the boardwalk.

Northam said he believes Virginia Beach can serve as the model for the country for reopening safely.

Additionally, he says he working with other beaches, such as Norfolk, to reopen this weekend if they're able to show they have a similar plan.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.