Face Coverings Required Inside Public Places, Strongly Recommended Outside
This content appears courtesy of the Fairfax Health Department, the City’s health department, and Fairfax County.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam requires face coverings when people are inside public spaces. This includes all retail businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, and entertainment and amusement businesses.
Face Covering Exceptions
There are exceptions to the requirement, however. Face coverings are not needed for:
- Eating or drinking.
- Children under the age of two.
- People with health conditions that keep them from wearing a covering.
- Communicating with people with hearing-impairments when the mouth needs to be visible.
- Getting medical treatment or government services when coverings can be removed temporarily.
- Participating in religious rituals.
Face coverings also are not be required inside daycares, schools, or colleges and universities.
Requirements for Children and Teens
Adults accompanying minors should use the adult’s best judgment with respect to placing face coverings on a minor between the ages of two through nine while inside the public areas noted above. Adults accompanying minors ages 10 through 18 shall use reasonable efforts to prompt the minor to wear face coverings while inside the public areas noted above.
Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering.
Why Face Coverings are Required
Just as restaurant or retail workers must wear coverings to protect their customers, the governor said the new requirement will help protect employees at businesses that are reopening.
"This is about protecting those around us, especially our workers,” Governor Northam said. “As more businesses open to the public, the people who work there are put in a vulnerable position when other people come in without a mask.”
The face covering mandate will not be enforced criminally by the police, Governor Northam said. This responsibility will be given to the Virginia Department of Health instead.
"I’m not looking for people to get in trouble for not wearing a mask — but I am looking for people to please do the right thing,” Governor Northam said. “I’m asking people to respect one another."
Make Your Own Face Covering
Face coverings can be made with things commonly found at home.
“You can make your own," said Northam. “You can find a plan on the internet, and all you need is a piece of cloth and some rubber bands. You can even grab a bandana.”
The CDC offers simple instructions on how to make homemade face coverings.