Governor Northam may require Virginians wear masks, locals question pending policy

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — The debate surrounding a possible mandatory mask policy in Virginia heats up–particularly after Governor Ralph Northam was seen not wearing one on Saturday in Virginia Beach.

With a mask policy decision pending, 8News interviewed people in Richmond to hear their thoughts about a possible requirement to cover their faces.

“If the governor is going to mandate it, then we need to have, to be able to have a supply for it,” Bernice Stafford Turner said.

While Stafford Turner said a mandate to wear masks in close quarters is a good idea, she says the state should step up to provide them; something Governor Ralph Northam addressed druing a press conference Friday.

“It’s an equity issue. We’re going to make sure everybody has access to a mask, we also need to talk about how to enforce that,” Northam said.

Kendall New said he feels like he is already supposed to wear masks heading into businesses, but runs into some trouble once he’s there.

“Then I will try to communicate an order or something to a clerk, and they can’t understand, so I’ll take it off,” he said.

On Thursday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he sent a letter to Governor Northam suggesting people be required to wear masks. This, as the city continues to delay reopening after a spike in reported positive coronavirus cases.

Christopher Turner questions a possible mask mandate, asking, “we’re ready to open up stuff, right? Potentially. So we feel like it’s dissipating maybe or controllable at this point. So, the question becomes if you mandate it, how long do mandate that? Are we going to be living like this? Is this our new norm?

Whether a mask mandate would be effective or not, Emily Bolesta gives a thumbs up for a mask requirement.

“I see it as a rather polite gesture, it’s almost I can too, at least in my opinion, to not smoking in restaurants,” she said.

Governor Northam said be prepared, come Tuesday, to wear facial protection when heading out to businesses. Because no formal guidance has been made about a potential mask mandate, it’s unclear if they may also be required be worn outside. 

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