Ralph Northam

RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam will announce on Tuesday details of how Virginia will handle any new requirements related to wearing masks or facial coverings in public.

“We have been talking about this and working through the specifics,” he said of a related request by the mayor of Richmond to mandate the wearing of masks in the city, which has not yet entered Phase One of the state’s reopening plan because of a high number of positive COVID-19 tests and deaths.

“I applaud the mayor for wanting to keep people safe in the city of Richmond,” he said.

Northam said face coverings are an important part of phases one and two because they have been proven to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But it’s an “equity” issue, he said. “We want to make sure everybody has access to a mask, especially for people going into places of business,” he said, but he offered no details on how far any new rules will go.

All new guidelines or requirements related to wearing masks will be for the entire state, he added.

Northam said he will provide details at a press conference on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has said he would consider mandatory wearing of masks in public in specific areas where there would be a surge of new positive cases, if stricter guidelines were needed to contain the spread.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com.

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