Beginning in February of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly swept across the country, spreading to all fifty states within a matter of days. In response to the pandemic, state and local governments have enacted laws to require residents to do their part to stop the virus from spreading. One of the best ways to prevent COVID-19 from spreading is to maintain a social distance of at least six feet, and to wear a cloth mask that covers the face.
In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam recently signed an executive order requiring many Virginians wear masks when they are out and about. According to Executive Order 63, those who are ten years old and older must wear a cloth mask over their face in certain settings. The mask must cover their nose and mouth, as described by the Centers for Disease Control.
Notably, masks do not need to be work every time someone is in public. Executive Order 63 clarifies that masks only need to be work in the following situations:
- When visiting personal care and personal grooming businesses, including barbershops, spas, tattoo shops, massage centers, and beauty salons;
- When visiting brick-and-mortar retail establishments;
- When visiting food and beverage establishments, including restaurants, breweries, wineries, and farmers markets (when these establishments are permitted to open);
- When visiting entertainment and recreation businesses, including arcades, racetracks, zoos, aquariums, craft fairs, and movie theaters;
- When visiting train stations, bus stations, and when using other forms of public transportation;
- State and local government buildings, except K-12 schools; and
- Any other indoor place shared by groups of people who are in close proximity to each other
In addition to the above, all employees of essential retail businesses are required to wear a mask whenever working in an area in which they are exposed to customers.
Of course, there are exceptions to the new Virginia COVID-19 mask law. The requirement to wear a mask while visiting any of the above locations does not apply in the following situations:
- While a person is eating or drinking;
- Individuals who have a hard time breathing, or cannot put on or remove the mask themselves;
- Individuals using exercise equipment;
- Individuals communicating with someone who is hearing impaired;
- Individuals with health concerns that prohibit them from wearing a mask.
Notably, any person who decides not to wear a face-covering for medical reasons is not expected to provide documentation of their medical condition. Additionally, children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 18, while still required to wear a mask, will not be cited for their failure to do so. However, adults who violate the law may face criminal charges.
Have You Been Cited for Failing to Wear a Mask in Public?
If you have recently been arrested under Virginia’s COVID-19 mask law, contact the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at the Robinson Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced team of Virginia criminal defense attorneys is committed to defending the rights of our clients, regardless of the crimes they have been charged with. We handle all types of cases, including Virginia drug crimes, weapons offenses, and more. To speak with an attorney today, call 703-542-4008 to schedule a free consultation.