RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam reminded Virginians that the state-wide mask order takes effect Friday. Under the order, people over 10 years old will have to wear a mask when entering public spaces like stores and restaurants.
Exceptions to the order include eating or if you have a medical condition that prevents you from safely wearing a face covering.
Northam said 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 only pursue someone who violated the order repeatedly and egregiously.
State officials added they did not expect businesses to enforce the mask order and said if someone came in refusing to wear a mask for a reason other than one of the allowed exceptions, they hoped the business owner would take the opportunity to talk with the customer about the importance of wearing a mask.
If the customer still refused, the business could then deny them service, similar to the old adage of no shirt, no shoes, no service. The business does not have to deny them service.
“It is the personal responsibility of each and every one of us to comply with executive order 63. It is the right thing to do. And it's the right thing to do to protect oneself, to protect one's family, and your fellow Virginians,” Rita Davis, Counsel to Governor Northam, said.
The Virginia Department of Health will not have people monitoring nor inspecting businesses to see if people are complying. There will be a hotline set-up to receive complaints.