On May 26, Governor Ralph Northam declared that all Virginians 10 years and older must wear masks while in public indoor spaces, including retail stores, buses, and restaurants (when you’re not eating, of course).
Some have wondered how business owners would enforce such a rule with recalcitrant customers, and Tobey’s Pawn Shop owner Tobey Bouch, along with Charlottesville radio host Rob Schilling, filed a lawsuit over the mandate on June 1, claiming that masks are illegal in Virginia. But most local business owners say the directive has not been a problem.
At Corner sportswear staple Mincer’s, more than 90 percent of shoppers are wearing face coverings, says company V.P. Calvin Mincer.
“I would say a couple I’ve seen come in just with no mask. But we don’t really want to fight with them about it, so we just assume they might have some sort of medical condition.”
A few doors down at Bodo’s, the bagel chain has set up a table in its patio area for customers to order and pick up food without having to go inside. And though masks are not required outside, most customers have been wearing them, an employee says.
In Barracks Road Shopping Center, The Happy Cook has also not had any problems enforcing the rule.
“I was uncertain if there would be any sort of pushback…but honestly almost everybody who comes in has had a mask with them and already on,” says owner Monique Moshier. “We do have a thing posted on the window for people to give us a call if they don’t have one with them and we give them a mask…[But] we’ve only had to use those a couple of times, and it’s mostly just been that somebody ran out of their car without grabbing their mask.”
As for the many other businesses around Charlottesville, the Downtown Business Association’s Susan Payne says that, while it is not able to force businesses to follow the mandate, she has yet to see an establishment that’s not complying.
Quote of the Week
“Put your bodies on the line. Our bodies are on the line every day. America has been one long lynching for black people.”
—UVA Politics professor Larycia Hawkins, speaking at the June 7 Black Lives Matter march
City Council gathered (virtually) on June 8 for a closed meeting, to discuss City Manager Tarron Richardson’s job performance and the legal state of the Confederate statues. Richardson has had a contentious relationship with council, which he’s accused of “meddling” in his operations. Even by the glacial standards of municipal government, this meeting was a doozy—it lasted five hours, according to The Daily Progress.
In a disturbing echo of Heather Heyer’s murder, Harry H. Rogers, a Ku Klux Klan leader, drove his car through a crowd of protesters in Richmond on June 7, injuring one person. Rogers was arrested and faces multiple charges. More than a dozen such vehicle attacks, a terrorist tactic increasingly used by white supremacists, have been committed against Black Lives Matter protesters over the past two weeks, including several in which police were at the wheel.
As if this spring didn’t feel apocalyptic enough, here come billions of bugs. After nearly two decades of life underground, hordes of buzzing, whining cicadas are beginning to tunnel out into the fresh air. The 17-year cicadas will be especially plentiful in western Virginia, where less development has left their tree habitats intact.
As unemployment climbs past 10 percent, Virginia has halted all eviction proceedings through June 28, a move that many activists had called for in recent months. Governor Ralph Northam’s administration says it is working on a relief program for families facing housing insecurity from the pandemic and its associated economic downturn.