Virginians to ‘face’ new mask reality come Friday: ‘It’s not going to kill me’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginians will soon face a new reality.

Beginning Friday, May 29, Virginians will be required to wear protective masks or face coverings in public. The order applies to anyone who is 10 years of age or older, with few exceptions. Expectedly, Governor Ralph Northam’s decision received mixed reviews. 8News spoke with two Richmond residents, Marci Logsdon and James Venti, who believe a face mask mandate is the right approach.

“If we have to wear masks to get this done, I rather wear a mask, it’s not going to kill me, it is what it is,” Logsdon said.

Venti agreed, adding that he thinks “that by taking what professionals are saying and people who have done researching and study on this have been saying and taking it lightly and not listening can be pretty detrimental to that outcome that we’re all looking for.”

According to Venti, it comes down to an equity issue.

“I know for me and my situation, I can afford masks and I have a place to find them and purchase them, but I know there are some people who aren’t in that position,” he said.

  • Click here on why you should wear a mask and how to clean them.

Northam announced Tuesday that face masks would be enforced outside of a few exceptions: when people are eating, drinking, and exercising, those with health conditions that may cause trouble breathing in a mask and citizens who aren’t able to don or remove a mask without help.

“I think it is a good move and having the only governor in the country who’s a doctor, I trust Northam’s word,” Logsdon said. “I do feel like it’s coming at a late time. I kind of wish this is something that was mandated at the beginning. I feel like we could’ve had some better results by now, but better late than never.”

8News asked Richmond and Henrico Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula if he thinks this rule is being enforced too late.

“It’s definitely not too late,” he answered. “I think as you look at our numbers, most of the state is on a downturn in terms of the number of cases and numbers of positivity. The thing is, the reason those numbers are on a downturn is because we’ve done a really good job at staying at home and keeping our distance and not congregating.”

Dr. Avula adds that the masks the CDC is recommending are not the hospital-grade N95 masks donned by nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers in healthcare settings, but rather cloth masks that serve as a barrier to your respiratory droplets. According to Avula, it’s a simple act that can make a huge difference.

“The important part of a mask is that it is not necessarily protecting you from what you might inhale because a cloth mask isn’t really built to filter out those particles, but it can be extraordinarily helpful in protecting others from your respiratory droplets,” Avula said. “A lot of the recent studies around wearing a simple cloth mask is that you block up to 90 percent or more of the respiratory droplets you expel when you do things like talking or singing.”

8News Web Extra: We asked Dr. Danny Avula how face masks in public will be enforced?

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