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 the Virginian-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. (RELATED: Gov. Ralph Northam Caught Without A Mask At Virginia Beach)
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.
Physician, heal thyself. pic.twitter.com/KJuPzGWjew
— Todd Gilbert (@cToddGilbert) May 24, 2020
Yesterday, King #Northam alluded to idea that he might make wearing a mask mandatory and today paraded around in Virginia Beach with no mask or social distancing. Apparently, rules are for the little people. I guess he’ll make it mandatory after his beach trip. #Hypocrite https://t.co/yOGAH7PySS
— Senator Dick Black (@SenRichardBlack) May 24, 2020
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” for reopening northern Virginia after implementing stay-at-home orders in March. He delayed reopening on May 12 after some local leaders expressed concerns that their communities should not yet reopen.