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Let’s Get This Right: Mask Up NOVA
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Let’s Get This Right: Mask Up NOVA

It’s Phase One and Executive Order 63 for Northern Virginia’s reopening.

(From left) Chris Dittes and Richard Spencer of Reston wait in line for haircuts, masked and ready to abide with Executive Order 63 requiring all Virginians to wear face coverings while inside public spaces.

(From left) Chris Dittes and Richard Spencer of Reston wait in line for haircuts, masked and ready to abide with Executive Order 63 requiring all Virginians to wear face coverings while inside public spaces. Photo by Mercia Hobson.

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Northern Virginia Regional Commission presents #MASKUPNOVA.

Jeff McKay, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman: "I wear a mask to protect our most vulnerable community members."

Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel: "I wear a mask because it is the right thing to do during a pandemic."

Vienna Mayor Laurie DiRocco: "I wear a mask because I want to protect the citizens of my community."

Falls Church Mayor and Chairman of NVRC David Tarter: "I wear a mask because I care about my community."

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson: "I wear a mask to prevent giving the virus to our frontline essential workers."

Loudoun County Chair Phyllis Randall: "I wear a mask because this is not about me; it's about the community."

Arlington County Chair Libby Garvey: "I wear a mask because I respect and care about you."

On May 29, The Northern Virginia Regional Commission announced that it produced a Public Service Announcement emphasizing the importance of wearing a face mask in public indoor spaces. At the same time, the Northern Virginia region stepped into Phase One of Governor Northam's Forward Virginia blueprint and under Executive Order 63 (2020) Order of Public Health Emergency Five, Requirement to Wear Face Covering While Inside Buildings. "I am looking for people to please do the right thing," Northam said during a news briefing earlier that week. "I'm asking people to respect one another."

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission released a video highlighted by appearances from seven local, regional elected officials that urged residents to wear masks as they explained their reasons for wearing one in the fight against COVID-19. Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay, Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel, Vienna Mayor Laurie DiRocco, Falls Church Mayor and Chairman of NVRC David Tarter, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, Loudoun County Chair Phyllis Randall and Arlington County Chair Libby Garvey participated. McKay said, "I wear a mask to protect our most vulnerable community members." The public is invited to view the video and join the Commission's #MASKUPNOVA campaign. Information and the video can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7tOn3qW7vo&feature=youtu.be

Robert W. Lazaro, Jr. is the executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, a council of thirteen member local governments in the Northern Virginia suburbs. Lazaro said, "Northern Virginia's elected regional leaders are committed to helping protect the public health. The MaskUpNoVA campaign is one such way to help inform our residents of the benefits of wearing a mask in indoor public spaces." According to P. David Tarter, Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and Mayor of the City of Falls Church, leadership starts with the leaders. "If we want to keep our citizens safe, then it's incumbent upon us to model the right behavior," said Tarter.

According to Executive Order 63 (2020): "Individuals who contract the virus may still transmit the virus to others before ever showing symptoms. Therefore, a person with no symptoms of the virus could spread it by speaking, coughing or sneezing. As more people venture back to businesses, employees are vulnerable when patrons come in without a face covering. We must make sure workers are safe as they interact with customers."

Executive Order 63 is divided into four key areas: Patrons, Employees, Department of Health and Effective Dates.

  • Face Coverings are required for all patrons in the Commonwealth aged ten and over when visiting stores, barbershops, restaurants and travel on public transportation, among other things.
  • Face Coverings are required for employees of essential retail businesses whenever working in customer-facing areas.
  • The Virginia Department of Health shall have the authority to enforce the Order. Although wearing masks will be required, the rules will be enforced through the Virginia Department of Health, not the police.
  • The Order remains in full force and effect from 12 a.m., Friday, May 29, 2020, until amended or rescinded by further executive order.

There are thirty-eight questions and answers about Executive Order 63 and face coverings on the website www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/. Included is how to report an individual who is not abiding by the mandatory customer face coverings. Talk to the business owner and if that doesn't work, call 1-877-ASK-VDH3. For business owners who ask the question: "What happens if I ask a person without a face covering to leave and he or she does not leave?" According to the website: "If you (a business owner) have asked a customer to leave and they refuse, then they are likely trespassing, and you may call local law enforcement." However, the website added: "We are focused on education, and ask everyone to be part of the solution as we adjust to this new normal."

Highlights of Regional Posts to #MaskUpNOVA

Providence Supervisor Dalia Palchik, Merrifield: "I wear a mask because it keeps our community safe."

Marybeth Donahue Connelly, Falls Church: "As Northern Virginia moves into Phase 1 reopening, everybody needs to wear a mask in public to protect everyone else. It is sweaty. It is uncomfortable. It is awkward. And it is the right thing to do!"

Robert W. Lazaro, Jr., Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. "Check it out. And thanks to Falls Church City Councilmember Letty Hardi for creating this awesome Facebook frame – add it to your profile at bit.ly/MaskUpNoVAFrame "

Twins Ace Hardware, Fairfax: "Starting Friday, 5/29, facial coverings are required in our store if you are over 10 years old. If you don't have one, we're happy to provide one for just $1. Please help us keep our essential business safe."

Mayor Justin Wilson, Fairfax: "Proud to join my colleagues from around the region to explain who we are protecting by wearing our masks!"