Local attorneys explain what penalties could be imposed on those who do not follow mask mandate

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Since the Governor’s mask mandate went into effect, people are wondering how the mandate can be enforced.

During his COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Governor talked about the possibility penalizing those who do not follow the mandate. Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said right now there are no penalties under the Governor’s Executive Order. She said if he moves along with penalties, people could possibly face a fine or even jail time.

“Well right now, by statute, there is no penalty set forth and I think in discussing with other prosecutors that the only potential at this point, unless we are missing something, would be obstructing a police officer which carries up to a year, and from a $50 to $500 fine,” Keller said.

Beckley City Councilman, Robert Dunlap, said the Governor can reach out to city council members and ask for an ordinance to be put in place for the city.

“What the Governor could do is he could simple contact city councils,” Dunlap said. “He could contact the legislature tell them an emergency session needs to be held and that they need to vote on a law, because technically this isn’t a law, this is a courtesy, and this is being mindful and a good citizen.”

59 News spoke with Raleigh County resident, Bill Harrah, to see what his opinions are on possible penalties.

“I don’t think there should be any penalty as long as there is room for people to walk around. Otherwise close quarters, still not to sure about a penalty,” Harrah said.

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