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Gov. Northam Says Masks Will Be Mandatory If COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise

Failing to follow guidelines will also lead to this possibility.
Governor Ralph Northam Of Virginia May Make Masks Mandatory In Public

States are slowly starting to reopen at their own pace, taking many factors into consideration surrounding COVID-19. Some businesses that have reopened have required guests and staff to wear face masks and in some cases even temperature checks at the door. Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia has stated he could be adding face mask requirements for residents in the near future.

As of today, May 21, Virginia has 34,137 COVID-19 cases and 1,099 total deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The dashboard is updated as more data becomes available, and currently shows an upward trend.

If cases continue to rise, Gov. Northam will move to make wearing masks in public mandatory, he said in a Facebook Live video with CBS 6 on May 20.

"If it gets to the point that we see our numbers going up, for example, and people not complying with our guidelines, then that's something we will do," said Northam.

Virginians were also given reminders that these masks not only protect themselves, but they protect everyone else around them. Northam stressed that some infected residents may not show symptoms, and that wearing the mask can help remind people to not touch their faces.

The Virginia Department of Health has recommended that people wear masks when they travel to public places like grocery stores. While this isn't mandatory yet, it has become a requirement in neighboring states like Maryland, New York, and even Connecticut.

"I encourage all Virginians to do it not just for themselves but to protect others. Think about these people on our front lines in our hospitals and nursing homes, those are the ones we need to take care of," Northam said.

Phase 1 of opening has already begun for most of Virginia as of May 15, but for North Virginia it's been delayed until at least May 29 due to a high number of cases. If the state continues to see an increase, you may need to stock up on those masks.