Gov. Jim Justice

CHARLESTON — Wearing facial coverings in confined public indoor places where social distancing cannot be achieved will be mandatory in West Virginia starting Monday night after midnight.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the decision Monday afternoon during his COVID-19 briefing, saying the Executive Order is needed to protect residents.

Citing the rising number of new cases around the state caused, at least in part, by out-of-state travel, Justice said the stricter guideline of mandatory facial coverings is needed.

“In the last few days our positive numbers have now moved to a level in excess of 3.7 percent (positive rate to the total number tested),” he said. “We are absolutely in a situation to where we have to make a move and make a move right now. If we don’t do it now, we will be in world of hurt.”

Justice said the requirement to wear a facial covering will include at work in an office and in all retail stores if social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained.

Justice has mentioned the possibility of this order for weeks, pointing out how effective masks are in helping curb the spread of the virus, which is primarily transmitted through tiny particles in the air from an infected person’s cough, sneezes or loud talking.

He said he knows this is not a popular decision, but it is the right one.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com.

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