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West Virginia governor issues order for wearing face coverings indoors

West Virginia governor issues order for wearing face coverings indoors
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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an order Monday mandating face coverings indoors in areas where social distancing is not possible. 

The governor signed the executive order during his COVID-19 press conference, which required all West Virginians over 9 years old to wear face coverings in “confined, indoor places provided social distancing cannot be maintained.” The order will take effect at midnight on Tuesday. 

“West Virginia, we are absolutely in a situation to where we have got to make a move right now,” he said.

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“If we don’t do that and do this now, we are going to be in a world of hurt,” he added.

He instructed West Virginians to wear face coverings if they work in buildings where social distancing cannot be kept and in retail stores. He emphasized the coverings did not have to be purchased masks and could be homemade.

Justice said he expects “pushback” and people refusing to comply but said face coverings are “the only thing we can do” to combat the pandemic.

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“Absolutely it is at this point in time in my opinion the only thing we can do, the only smart thing to do,” he said. “I know it’s not going to be popular, but you didn’t elect me to do popular things.”

The governor had discussed the possibility of a mandatory face covering order in recent weeks and decided to implement it as cases rise in the state, the Cumberland Times-News reported.

The U.S. is experiencing an uptick in daily confirmed coronavirus cases, with particular spikes in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

“Now we surely can’t become Texas, but, you see, we surely can become Texas, and we can become Texas very, very quickly,” he said. 

The country has reached more than 2.9 million confirmed cases and at least 130,090 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

West Virginia itself recorded its highest daily increase in confirmed cases on Sunday, with 130 new cases. The state has had a total of 3,356 confirmed cases and 95 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Several lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.),  have called for a national mask mandate to curb the surge in cases. 

Republicans have also recently changed their tone on masks, saying that everyone should wear a mask in public. President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE is rarely spotted with a mask on in public.