|After West Virginia experienced its highest daily total of new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that he has issued an executive order that will establish a statewide indoor face covering requirement. The order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all indoor public places where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. The requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is otherwise unable to remove their own face covering without assistance.
The Governor clarified that the requirement to wear face coverings does not apply inside residents’ homes or vehicles. Also, the requirement does not apply when consuming food or beverages inside a restaurant. The requirement does not apply anywhere outside. However, state health leaders still strongly suggest that residents wear a face covering when outside in circumstances where proper social distance is difficult to maintain.
For children ages 2 years old through 8 years old, face coverings are not required. However, it is recommended that parents or guardians use their best judgment as to when to assist their children, ages 2 through 8, with wearing a face covering.
CLARIFICATION ON FACE COVERING, CONCEAL CARRY LAWS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice’s General Counsel Brain Abraham added that, while there is a law in West Virginia that prohibits the use of face coverings in public, there is an exemption to that law for emergency situations such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Abraham went on to explain that the new face covering requirement does not restrict the right of West Virginians to carry concealed weapons.