Bill Adding Civil Penalty for Emergency Order Violations Passes State Senate

Sep 4, 2020

What happens if someone violates the governor’s executive order on the pandemic?

Not wearing a mask, assembling a large group of people and violating quarantine could get you slapped with a new $500 civil penalty.

Senator Barbara Favola is a Democrat from Arlington, and she says adding a new civil penalty for violating a governor’s executive order on emergencies will help keep everyone safe. 

“When we have a public health emergency, we can only protect ourselves when every individual abides by some rules,” she says.

Credit CDC

Republicans disagree. Republican Senator Amanda Chase of Chesterfield is participating in the special session from a plexiglass box because she’s not wearing a mask in the Senate chamber. 

“We are discriminating and using extortion against people who have legitimate medical conditions and cannot wear a mask,” Chase says.

Virginia already has a criminal penalty for violating an executive order, but the threshold for proving that in court would be much higher than the new civil penalty. The Senate passed the bill on a party line vote.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.