Gov. Justice discusses possible mandatory masks during Thursday coronavirus press briefing


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice again discussed the possibility of mandatory mask wearing in West Virginia during his Thursday coronavirus press briefing.

“I want everyone to know that I am very, very seriously considering that at the beginning of next week, we may very well have to go to mandatory masks in buildings, you know, other than your homes. You go out, and you go into a building, you need to probably wear your mask. We tell you you need to, but we may have to go to mandatory masks,” said Justice.

“I’ll give you more of an update on that in the beginning of next week,” Justice continued. “We don’t have enough data. I wanted to give you notice of something that could very well be coming.”

When asked about enforcement, Justice was adamant that he would not “start hauling people off to jail that don’t have a mask on.” He did state that he would ask everyone to comply, if it comes to that, and said he would ask businesses to help encourage their use.

“If we get an 80% response, it literally starts shutting this disease down right here,” said Justice.

The number of active cases of coronavirus is in the 500s, and 127 may soon come off that total, according to Justice. Of the active cases, more than 100 of them have a common denominator.

“115 of our active cases, if, in fact, this number drops into the 400s, 115 of them are people that have been to Myrtle Beach,” Justice said. “You’ve got to watch that. You’ve got to watch that.”

Free testing events continue to be held across the state, including north central West Virginia. Following a testing event Wednesday at Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg, there will be events next week in Monongalia and Preston counties. On July 10, an event will run 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Morgantown Farmers Market at 400 Spruce Street, while a second event will be held July 11, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at Mountainview Elementary School at 661 Green Bag Road in Morgantown.

In Preston County, testing events will be held July 10 and 11, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. each day, at Kingwood Elementary School at 207 S. Price Street.

Justice also wished West Virginians a happy Independence Day weekend and encouraged them to celebrate with caution.

“Really, really take time to be appreciative for what this day is in our nation, and, uh, Independence Day, it’s incredible. And so, so, but at the same time, we’ve got to ask you to be really, really careful, you know, over this holiday weekend cause there’ll be a lot of visitors here and a lot of people that’ll be relatively close together, so, uh, be really careful,” said Justice.

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