West Virginia Needs a Tougher Stance on Face Masks

Morgantown, West Virginia – In Governor Jim Justice’s press briefing on the COVID-19 response, he begged and pleaded with West Virginians to wear a mask.  The data overwhelmingly  supports the fact that wearing a mask – a fairly simple, uncomplicated thing to do – prevents the spread of the virus.

On Monday, Justice put out an executive order, mandating that the states residents wear masks when in a public building.  Justice said that he “trusted West Virginians” and “made that order on the honor system.”

However, it’s become clear since he made the executive order that many people in the state of West Virginia feel that wearing a mask somehow violates their rights as citizens and refuse to wear one.  Justice’s response today was this: “If we can’t handle that, we will have to be more stringent and assess some kind of penalty for your non-compliance.  This is an executive order from the Governor that masks are mandatory in public buildings and please, please, West Virginians, let’s do this.”

Although Justice didn’t get an idea of what the penalty might be and stopped short of saying that residents will be fined, it was clear that he was very serious about mask-wearing in the state of West Virginia.

Jim Justice is absolutely right.  Making mask-wearing mandatory and a requirement is not asking too much and it’s certainly not an infringement on the rights of anyone.  Wearing a mask is a simple, smart, effective way to protect yourself and the people of our state.

Monongalia County has 202 active cases, an increase of 62 cases in the last 24 hours.  Slowing the spread will not magically happen.  Rather, it takes everyone getting on board and doing what it takes.  Unfortunately, it’s been shown that people in West Virginia will not do that.  The only way to save lives and to protect the people of our state is by getting tough on those unwilling to cooperate.  Not wearing a mask should be enforced by fining or even arresting people that can’t take the simple step to prevent the spread.  This may seem extreme, but remember, this is people’s lives at stake, and there’s nothing more valuable or precious in the world than that.

Put on a mask, people.