Public reacts to governor's mask mandate

Published: May. 30, 2020 at 1:30 PM EDT
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This weekend, people were out and about, some wearing and masks and some not. It's the first weekend since the governor issued a

inside public buildings and businesses. WDBJ7 went to downtown Roanoke to see what people think.

Some say they agree with the governor's mandate to wear masks inside, while others say it steps on their freedom.

"It's the socially responsible thing to do," Pam Fridley said. She and her husband Mike Fridley own an art gallery, The Little Gallery, in downtown Roanoke, so they see customers come in and out of their store daily. Now, these customers will have no choice but to wear masks inside the business.

"Both parties having masks on, it's protecting each other, I mean it may not be fool-proof, but it's better than without it," Pam said.

Governor Northam signed an executive order saying starting Friday, May 29, people must wear face coverings in public indoor settings. The Fridleys are completely on board.

"I think it's a great idea. I mean, it's a way of opening the economy again and protecting each one of us and doing our due diligence make sure that we are protecting ourselves and others," Mike said.

"It's a heck of a lot better than staying inside all the time," Pam said.

Roanoke resident Michael Pittman says he also understands why people should be wearing masks.

"People should have common sense with it, you know, I think if you're going to go somewhere with tons of people, you should respect the people," Pittman said.

But even so, he doesn't think wearing masks should be an order.

"I've been trying to wear a mask anyway, but I think making people wear them and making a mandate that they wear them is a little bit ridiculous, and if they're going to make them wear them, then I think they should provide them for the people," he said.

He believes the mandate infringes on people's freedom.

"I feel like freedom is a slippery slope, and you start forcing people to do this and that, and you start wondering what's going to come next," Pittman said.

The mandate will stay in effect as Phase 2 of reopening the commonwealth approaches, though there is no set date for that.

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