Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is requiring all Virginians to wear face masks in public days after he was pictured posing for photos at the beach maskless, numerous sources reported.
Beginning Friday, adults and children over age 10 will be required to wear masks in public, the governor announced Tuesday according to theVirginian-Pilot.
“I am taking this step because science increasingly shows us that the virus spreads less easily when everyone is wearing face coverings,” he said at a press conference in Richmond according to the Virginian-Pilot.
However,the governor, a physician, is being rebuked for hypocrisy after he was seen greeting people and taking selfies without a mask at Virginia Beach’s oceanfront.
He claimed he left his mask in the car and takes “full responsibility” for his lack of preparedness after having no “intention of being involved with the public” but was there to speak with Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and reporters.
Rather than have the requirement enforced by law enforcement, Northam says the task would be left to state health department officials.
When pressed about how the requirement would be enforced, Northam said that he’s “not sure we need to get into specifics of what authority, at this stage.”
The Democratic governor said on May 21 that he does not have a “particular timeline” forreopeningnorthern Virginia after implementingstay-at-home ordersin March. He delayed reopening on May 12 after some local leaders expressed concerns that their communities should not yet reopen.