Tuesday of this week, Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, directing all Virginians over the age of 10 to wear masks indoors in specified locations and for specified purposes. EO 63 did not specify that the wearing of masks indoors was universally mandated. As such, local government employees in local government facilities were not included in the Governor’s Order. However, patrons within local government facilities are required to wear masks starting tomorrow, Friday May 29th. Therefore, since all City facilities will still remain closed to the general public, City employees are not required to wear a mask at work, at this time. However, should you chose to invite a visitor to enter a City building or facility, that visitor must wear a mask. While meeting with your invited guest, it is then necessary for you to wear a mask, in his or her presence. If your visitor refuses to wear a mask, the invitation to enter should be withdrawn (do not let them in). Please have masks in your facility for the occasional visitor that may be invited indoors; and they are to be provided at no cost. If it is desirable and a visitor or customer requests, you may (but are not required to) conduct business with that individual outside of City facilities; and while doing so you are advised to follow appropriate safety protocols for such a meeting.
Any City staff with a health condition which would be exacerbated by wearing a mask will be exempt from this requirement. If necessary, you may make this request for exemption, verbally to your Department Head or immediate supervisor. No supporting documentation or details of a medical condition will be required. However, a record of individuals requesting an exemption will be maintained. Of course, you are not required to wear a mask while eating or drinking. Additionally, you may also remove your mask when working with someone who is hearing impaired. Should you not have a mask, the City will provide one and Department Directors should contact Robby Bailey, Human Resources Director, for masks for your facility or staff.
The Governor did specify that enforcement of this Order was not a law enforcement matter. Therefore, the Police Department will not be providing any inspections, security or response to calls or complaints of individuals not wearing a mask, at this time. PLEASE, let us all understand that none of us sought to experience COVID-19 in our lifetimes. Of course, we also do not welcome the wearing of masks and many other safety precautions. However, let us remember that we are working through this timeframe & challenge together. Please support each other, demonstrate patience and understanding for each other and the citizens we serve and remember to smile and laugh when we can. I am happy to take any questions or discuss this matter in detail with any and all that have concerns; and we must also remember that these current directives from the Governor may change. Click here to read the full text of executive order 63.