Mask Requirement Injunction Denied

June 29, 2020 - 7:14 pm
A group of doctors with face masks looking at camera,

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Richmond, VA _  A Judge in Fauquier County has refused a request to issue an injunction halting the implementation of Governor Ralph Northam's executive order requiring facial coverings for people 10 and over when spending time inside certain businesses, and employees of essential businesses when working in customer service areas.

The Plaintiffs in the case, a Fauquier County winery and its owner, had filed suit challenging the Governor’s ability to order the use of face coverings and claiming the order conflicted with the criminal statute barring the wearing of a mask in public “with the intent to conceal his identity.” Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction allowing them to opt out of the mask law.

In making the ruling Judge Jeanette Irby wrote found that “Contrary to the Plaintiffs’ contention, the Governor’s powers do not preclude him from issuing orders requiring face coverings, and in fact, VA CODE ANN 182.3-422 explicitly anticipates such an event.”  Irby also found that there “is no conflict between the criminal code and the executive order” because the executive order provides a specific purpose for the mask—“facilitating the protection of one’s personal health”—that makes the mask law inapplicable."

“Wearing a mask is such an easy, effective way to help control the spread of COVID and to show your fellow Virginians that you care about the health and well-being of your friends, neighbors, and community,” said Attorney General Herring. “As cases continue to spike around the country, we know that our progress in controlling COVID in Virginia is real, but requires a sustained commitment to things like covering our faces and maintaining social distancing whenever possible."