Virginians could see new requirements regarding face coverings as the state looks to continue easing restrictions on businesses.

Gov. Ralph Northam suggested that he would make an announcement Tuesday on the details of those plans.

“We’re working through the policy,” Northam said. “It’s an equity issue — we want to make sure everyone has access to a mask. We also want to talk about how we enforce that.”

Northam noted any rules would be for all of Virginia.

“Wearing a mask could literally save someone else’s life,” he said. “Face coverings are an important part of the next steps, and we’ll have more to say on that next week.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to the governor Friday calling for required face coverings when people are in public and social distancing isn’t possible. 

The city is still under stay-at-home restrictions, delaying a Phase One reopening until at least May 29, but Stoney said he was concerned about reports of people not wearing masks in grocery stores and other public places in communities near the city that have entered Phase One.

“I am concerned that this trend will continue as we move closer to reopening, which could potentially counter the efforts we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Stoney said.

On Friday, Marine Corps Base Quantico announced that face coverings would be required for entrance into all of the mess halls on base.

NO RELIEF FOR PWC RESTAURANTS

Prince William County and Manassas officials, along with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, had asked the governor to allow restaurants to reopen outdoor spaces this weekend, but Northam rejected the request Friday.

“We are not allowing that,” Northam said, referring to a variety of calls from local leaders in areas that were not part of reopening May 15.

The governor said he has been in contact with leaders in Northern Virginia and will have more information next week regarding any potential reopening.

NEW TESTING TOOL

Northam also rolled out a new online tool to help with symptom checks and finding testing sites.

The page, vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck, includes tabs to check your symptoms, find a testing site and get answers about COVID-19.

The health department is in the process of hiring hundreds of contact tracers to track coronavirus exposure in the state. Officials will also be hosting 44 large testing events next week that are expected to test 17,000 individuals, Northam said.

(17) comments

411Catharpin

Looks like I'll be getting tickets from the POPO. If someone is scared make them stay home. Dont drag the majority down to the level of the minority

So if the majority want to be out and about, willing to wear a mask to do so, and protect their fellow residents, that’ll make YOU the minority and you’re willing to drag the majority down with you. You complain that you want small businesses to open up, but when that plan is going forward, you’ve got an issue with the infamous “If someone is scared make them stay home” - make them, but you want to be “free”. I guess Constitutional Rights only matter when they are in aligning with your own beliefs.

TPL

The majority aren't wearing masks, because it's absurd. If you wear a mask while driving your car or just walking outdoors, as some have done, then you've lost the plot. As for slowing the spread, we've already done that, and cases are continuing to drop, so yes, you sound scared and panicky when still believing that people absolutely must wear masks. If you want to wear one, that's perfectly fine, no judgment there, but forcing others to wear them is asinine.

No judgment after stating “If you wear a mask while driving your car or just walking outdoors, as some have done, then you've lost the plot”? Contradict yourself much?

tman

'scared' - how selfish of you. A minor inconvenience for you to slow the spread, but a bridge too far.

fed11

Going to be 80+ coming soon. Inhibit breathing, promote germs and most masks don’t stop a virus. Call Governor and push back 804-786-2211 press 1 and leave a message. Be respectful but forceful. Encourages lawbreaking, who enforces, what about medical restrictions, what is penalty. Call and leave a message now let your voice be heard 804-786-2211 press #1

PWC resident since '69

Saw some idiot wearing a mask in his car and smoking...almost as stupid as our Governor

Fortunately, not as dumb as you are.

PWC resident since '69

Okey dokey lil Joey, what a d b

Thank you sweetie.

Citizen52

I don’t mind wearing a mask in public but the words from Northam are chilling. ‘We’re not going to allow that.” Allow?

Ralf27

This virus overkill is done. Open everything up next Friday ! Let's move on !

PWC resident since '69

The sheep keep bleating and saying “yessir yessir three bags full”

Catherine Christine

We can’t science the weather even a day out accurately. The real science is math and nothing adds up. Some bloggers have associated the mandatory wearing of the mask with dehumanization. If that’s the case, no amount of science will save us. GOD Bless us all (especially the kids).

Wcs_commerce

Calling all sheep to put on your mask!

Your rights are being tested!

What's next?

Must be nice to be so fearful with someone finding out you made this comment, you create a new account, hide your true identity, and say what you want with no accountability. Calling people sheep, while you’re the one who’s truly scared. Poor baby.

todd6263

This is our amazing leader who tells everyone what to do and then shows up at Virginia Beach with no mask and stands in groups of people that are less than a foot apart. Putting your arm around someone to take a selfie tends to make people just laugh at your heavy-handed edicts.

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