In VA, wearing a mask to guard against the flu is a Felony

In VA, wearing a mask to guard against the flu is a Felony

This is a discussion on In VA, wearing a mask to guard against the flu is a Felony within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Unless you have a note from your Doctor in your pocket: LIS > Code of Virginia > 18.2-422 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks ...

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Thread: In VA, wearing a mask to guard against the flu is a Felony

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    In VA, wearing a mask to guard against the flu is a Felony

    Unless you have a note from your Doctor in your pocket:

    LIS > Code of Virginia > 18.2-422

    18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.

    It shall be unlawful for any person over sixteen years of age while wearing any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply to persons (i) wearing traditional holiday costumes; (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment or other activities and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons; (iii) engaged in any bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball; or (iv) wearing a mask, hood or other device for bona fide medical reasons upon the advice of a licensed physician or osteopath and carrying on his person an affidavit from the physician or osteopath specifying the medical necessity for wearing the device and the date on which the wearing of the device will no longer be necessary and providing a brief description of the device. The violation of any provisions of this section shall constitute a Class 6 felony.
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    Then get a note from your doctor, but still pretty dumb.
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    (ii) engaged in professions, trades, employment or other activities and wearing protective masks which are deemed necessary for the physical safety of the wearer or other persons
    The bolded seems to work fine for me. Reading this I should be perfectly safe heading off the the local flu-farm, I mean Grocery store, with a mask on.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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    We have a declared National flu emergency, don't worry about a medical mask.

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    Member Array gglockster's Avatar
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    I was not aware of this law. There does not appear to be a religious exception, yet I see folks at the mall wearing a veil. Does this mean that they are in violation of Virginia State law?

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    Senior Member Array Free American's Avatar
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    The law was written to force the KKK to go hoodless.
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    This is why police, prosecutors and judges have, and need, discretion.

    There may also be a whole load of case law on the subject making it clear that the law doesn't apply to medical masks for medical reasons, and there may well be some public health law elsewhere in the VA code that deals with the issue and effectively negates what this law appears to be saying-- for public health reasons.

    We mortals not trained to look at all the angles and all the stuff that affect the meaning and effect of the written law, guess at our own peril.

    As for the head coverings worn by certain religious individuals, the 1A has some considerable impact on if or how a statute as the above would be enforced. Those little words in 1A about prohibiting the free exercise of religion mean something.

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    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    I better start carding the Trick or Treaters to make sure they aren't 16....Little criminals...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    This is why police, prosecutors and judges have, and need, discretion.

    There may also be a whole load of case law on the subject making it clear that the law doesn't apply to medical masks for medical reasons, and there may well be some public health law elsewhere in the VA code that deals with the issue and effectively negates what this law appears to be saying-- for public health reasons.

    We mortals not trained to look at all the angles and all the stuff that affect the meaning and effect of the written law, guess at our own peril.

    As for the head coverings worn by certain religious individuals, the 1A has some considerable impact on if or how a statute as the above would be enforced. Those little words in 1A about prohibiting the free exercise of religion mean something.
    That's good as long as the discretion is not vastly different from DA to DA and agency to agency. That is the term they use here for the issuing officer for CCW's and from county to county the issuing agent has different ideas of how it SHOULD be for restrictions.

    Don't get me wrong I agree but they need some continuity amongst the people deciding the issues.
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    What is a mask?

    Quote Originally Posted by rottkeeper View Post
    That's good as long as the discretion is not vastly different from DA to DA and agency to agency. That is the term they use here for the issuing officer for CCW's and from county to county the issuing agent has different ideas of how it SHOULD be for restrictions.

    Don't get me wrong I agree but they need some continuity amongst the people deciding the issues.
    Doesn't this really turn too on the exact language which specifies "whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden." It may well be that if the eyes are not covered the mask isn't a mask for the purposes of masking a "substantial portion of the face."

    Yes, I understand the concern being put forth by the OP. I'm just saying that I don't think that law is as clear and clean as it could be and likely doesn't apply at all to the situation we are speaking of.

    And then, how do you suppose a jury would react to a case brought on those facts? What would the local newsy write about the competence and wisdom of the local police, DA, etc., if that statute was used to prosecute someone merely protecting themselves and others for the flu.

    There's lots to worry about in this world. I don't think this issue is one of those things.

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    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Doesn't this really turn too on the exact language which specifies "whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden." It may well be that if the eyes are not covered the mask isn't a mask for the purposes of masking a "substantial portion of the face."

    Yes, I understand the concern being put forth by the OP. I'm just saying that I don't think that law is as clear and clean as it could be and likely doesn't apply at all to the situation we are speaking of.

    And then, how do you suppose a jury would react to a case brought on those facts? What would the local newsy write about the competence and wisdom of the local police, DA, etc., if that statute was used to prosecute someone merely protecting themselves and others for the flu.

    There's lots to worry about in this world. I don't think this issue is one of those things.
    The media would have a ball most likely, specially with the H1N1 virus being involved. The way I read it a mask of such would not apply anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    And then, how do you suppose a jury would react to a case brought on those facts? What would the local newsy write about the competence and wisdom of the local police, DA, etc., if that statute was used to prosecute someone merely protecting themselves and others for the flu.
    All it takes is a few criminals attempting crimes wearing simple "medical" masks, for this sort of statute to be applied strongly to an otherwise upstanding citizen by a zealot DA. Having the gods toss zealotry in our path based on that discretion is one of the risks we face, since in advance of any crime the only thing that distinguishes us from criminals is intent.

    I, too, would hope the wisdom and sanity of DA or Grand Jury would prevail by seeing that a minimalist, medical-type mask isn't alone a sufficient explanation to claim someone's a criminal. It's a pretty weak argument, lacking any corroborating evidence to support the claim.

    Reality is, the dang things only cover the barest portions of the mouth and nose. They're hardly even painting-style masks. Absolutely, they're insufficient for disguising identity.

    There's lots to worry about in this world. I don't think this issue is one of those things.
    I suspect this is correct. Yup.

    I'd have no problems going around with a medical-type mask to guard against air-borne contagion. Haven't yet, but then I'm not out and about amongst crowds much. Haven't seen the need, yet.
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    There was a sign posted on the front door at Papa John's last night that said " No masked allowed inside".

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    Hope is NOT a method.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gglockster View Post
    Hope is NOT a method.
    Yes it is. Hope is a method of failure. There are those that say...I hope I get this or that. They fail. Because they hope, rather than getting up and taking what they want.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
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