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Mask Mandate: W.Va. governor issues order

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:19 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Face coverings of some kind will be required in indoor public spaces in West Virginia beginning July 7.

Gov. Jim Justice made the announcement Monday during a press conference in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“What I am mandating today is I am signing an executive order that requires all West Virginians nine or above to wear a face covering in all confined indoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

Gov. Justice said

The new mask requirement does not apply to children under the age of nine or anyone who has trouble breathing or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

The indoor face mask requirement takes effect Tuesday, July 7 at 12 a.m.

Gov. Justice said Monday, “I know it’s not the popular thing to do but as far as wearing some level of face covering, absolutely it is at this point in time - in my opinion - the only thing we can do. The only smart thing we can do.”

“I know there’s going to be push back,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m telling you West Virginia if we don’t do this now we are going to be in a world of hurt. I know it’s going to be an inconvenience but do it for the 95 that have died.”

There was no guidance on how the order will be enforced.

According to health officials, the use of masks and face coverings has been the most effective way to reduce person-to-person spread of coronavirus.

The mask requirement comes after the state experienced its biggest two-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend, according to health statistics released.

The Department of Health and Human Resources website showed an increase of 76 positive cases on Sunday and 118 on Saturday. West Virginia has seen a 16% jump in confirmed cases over the past week and a 30% increase in the past two weeks, the statistics showed.

As of 10:00 a.m. Monday, there have been 187,464 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 3,356 total cases and 95 deaths.

826 cases are still considered active in state, officials say.

2,435 West Virginians have recovered from virus complications so far.

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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