UPDATE: One day after saying masks are staying, Northam lifts mask mandate

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam’s office told 8News on Thursday that Virginia’s mask guidelines which require individuals to wear face coverings indoors are still in effect, for now, despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokesperson from the governor’s office said they are “in the process of aligning state guidance with federal policy,” saying the federal move was a “big shift,” and the administration hopes to have updates on the state policy soon.

Earlier today, the CDC announced people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear a mask indoors in most settings; excluding planes, trains, buses, hospitals and prisons.

Under current state policy, anyone five years old and up must cover their mouth and nose with a face-covering indoors, as well as workforce employees.

The governor’s office declined to provide a date when the new guidance would be issued, and did not say if the CDC made the announcement before consulting state officials.

But with no mandate for businesses to prove someone’s been vaccinated, key questions remain for business owners and event operators.

“How am I supposed to know if someone is really fully vaccinated?” Kappy Sholla asked while working as a retail store manager in Richmond’s Carytown neighborhood.

“It’s hard to tell people what to do without there being a lot of uproar,” Rowan Sharma said Thursday evening while on the clock at a chocolate shop in Richmond.

“I’m not going to ask someone to show me their [CDC vaccination] card … I’m going to trust their word,” Sholla said.

Sharma said he personally supports the CDC’s move, noting “if somebody comes in here without a mask on, you just have to assume they are innocent until they’re guilty.

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