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Bell County businesses no longer mandated to require masks, now "strongly encouraged"

Virginians prepare for potential mandate on wearing masks in public
Posted at 11:27 AM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 16:24:48-04

The Bell County Commissioners Court voted to amend the face covering directive issued by Bell County Judge David Blackburn last week to change the mandatory wording to "strongly encouraged."

The directive ordered all businesses to require face coverings by employee, customers, contractors and vendors when social distancing was not possible.

The Commissioner's Court unanimously voted to amend the Judge's mask order this morning to remove the mandatory language, but "strongly encourage" businesses to require masks if a minimum of 6 feet social distancing cannot be maintained.

There is no longer any law enforcement or penalty associated with the order, according to Bobby Whitson, Bell County Commissioner Pct. 2.

"It was modified by the court so as not to be onerous on businesses, but still reiterate the importance of social distancing, wearing masks, and hygiene practices," said Whitson.

Bell County officials are also strongly recommending that anyone over the age of 10 should wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth when in public spaces.

Face coverings do not need to be worn when exercising outside, while driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household, when doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk, while pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment, or while in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening.
Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, frequent hand washing, and self-isolation when sick.

View the amended order below: