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Virginia Issues Executive Order Regarding Face Masks During COVID-19
May 29, 2020
Effective at noon today, May 29, 2020, Virginia Governor Northam's Executive Order 63 went into effect, requiring face coverings to be worn in certain circumstances. Specifically, a face covering is required for individuals aged ten and older when "entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time inside" the following categories of businesses:
  1. All retail.
  2. Food and beverage, but only when reopened for indoor dining.
  3. Personal care/grooming - i.e., hair salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, and tattoo shops.
  4. Entertainment and recreation businesses once permitted to reopen. This includes all indoor activities and outdoor activities where social distancing cannot be maintained. Included in this category are concert venues, museums, theatres, aquariums, social clubs, etc. 
  5. Public transportation, including train and bus stations, buses, trains, taxis, and Uber/Lyft.
  6. Any indoor place shared by groups of people, including churches.
  7. State and local government buildings, excluding daycare and K-12 educational institutions. 
EO 63 exempts persons from wearing a face covering, even at one of the establishments listed above, when:
  • Eating or drinking
  • Exercising or using exercise equipment
  • The individual has trouble breathing
  • Communicating with the visually impaired
  • Needing to secure government or medical services, but such removal is permitted only on a temporary basis
  • Persons with health conditions that prohibit wearing a face covering. A person not wearing a face covering for this reason need not produce any medical documentation to verify the condition nor do they need to identify the precise underlying condition.
Failure to comply with these requirements will be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor for adults over age 18. State courts will have authority to issue injunctions brought by the State Health Commission to ensure compliance.
Employees working in essential retail businesses as specified in Executive Order 61 are now also required to wear a mask whenever they are working in customer facing areas. Otherwise, even if they work in one of the business categories identified above, they need not wear a mask if that are not in a customer facing area.
Regulations further explaining EO 63 are forthcoming. If you have questions about this Executive Order or anything else related to COVID-19, contact your Spilman team.
Carrie H. Grundmann