Mask mandate could be enforced by police

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:09 AM EST
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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - Governor Justice’s new mask mandate could end up being enforced by local law enforcement.

Governor Justice addressed in his briefing that some people are upset with him over the mask mandate he made on Friday.

“They believe that we are stripping away constitutional rights. First of all, I cannot in any way mandate a criminal crime that’s for the legislature to do,” he said.

The mask mandate requires patrons to wear masks in all public buildings. Even if social distancing is in place, business owners and leaders can now ask someone to leave if they refuse to put on a mask. If they don’t leave, then they can turn to the police.

Fairmont Police Chief Steven Shine said that he wished there was more clarification as to what a face covering was supposed to be in the executive order.

“The executive order wasn’t available to review before evening. When all the state offices were closed, and we do have some concerns over the lack of specification,” he adds.

Shine said that they are asking business owners and managers to tell customers if they are not wearing a mask, they need to leave.

However, if the customers didn’t comply, police could be called for reinforcement

“We are hoping for voluntary compliance. You know, I know, there’s a COVID outbreak. Things are getting worse in our state with COVID exposures. We’d like to see more definition before we decide to put any criminal charges against people,” Shine said.

Shine added he hoped that further clarification would be released to guide law enforcement in the right direction.

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