CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – During his COVID-19 briefing Friday morning, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice updated his previous executive order on face coverings, making masks mandatory at virtually all times in public buildings and encouraging businesses to call the police if people don’t follow the mandate.
After Justice’s announcement, plenty of disagreement over the new order could be found on social media.
In response to the online backlash, Gov. Justice doubled down on the order, Friday evening, issuing an additional statement:
“I know, eight months into this pandemic, we are all tired and frustrated. I don’t like wearing a mask just as much as you, and I surely don’t want to see our fellow West Virginians in violation of the law. However, no one has the right to risk anyone else’s health. If you feel that you don’t want to wear a mask, then the answer is simple: don’t go into businesses or any other public buildings and risk harming your fellow West Virginians. Too many of our neighbors are getting sick, going to the ICU, and dying. At the end of the day, the responsible thing to do is to stand up and take bold, strong action. That’s what we did today by strengthening our indoor face covering requirement.
“If a business asks you to put on a mask or leave, and you refuse to do so, you are violating the law. If a police officer orders you to put on a mask or leave, and you refuse to do so, you are also violating the law. If a police officer orders a business to enforce our indoor face covering requirement, and they refuse to do so, the business is violating the law. There are real penalties for these violations.
“I am trying with all in me to avoid a loss of our businesses and your jobs. But I am also trying with all in me to avoid a massive loss of life in West Virginia.
“Finally, if some people are angry, and think it’s funny to retaliate and post my phone number online, that’s fine. The inconvenience is well worth it if we save just one life.”WV Gov. Jim Justice