Officials concerned over improper mask protocol

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Governor Justice announced a mask mandate in buildings outside of homes on July 6th. Over two months later, officials are still struggling to fulfill a 100% participation in public.

It’s up to the discretion of the public whether or not to wear a mask inside public buildings. Mercer County officials are looking to increase the percentage of people donning masks, including inside the county courthouse.

“We have it here in the courthouse as well,” said Mercer County Commissioner Bill Archer. “It’s for the safety of the people. Not only for the people who work here, but also for the guests who come here to tend to their business with the county.”

One obstacle in this movement is that there is no way to legally enforce a protocol on a mask mandate.

“All we can do is urge that masks be worn,” Archer said. “You know, there’s kind of the ongoing joke about ‘We strongly urge.’ But you know, in point of fact, that’s not something that you can do.”

The hope is that those who aren’t in line with the mandate can start looking beyond themselves and focus more on the health and safety of others, particularly those who are more at risk.

“It’s something that well all as citizens of West Virginia, and everybody in the United States, needs to look very thoroughly at,” Archer said. “Always try to protect the other guy, and also protect yourself.”

Unless there are further steps taken to increase the mandate, officials will continue to hope that a higher percentage of people decide to follow the protocol.