Coronavirus facemask rules in Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina won't affect concealed carry, sheriffs say

Sheriffs in states like Virginia, Illinois and North Carolina, where all residents are now required to wear masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, are reassuring residents who wonder how concealed carry permit holders should proceed.

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County sheriffs are taking it upon themselves to lay out what the law says, including Sheriff D.H. Rogers of Guilford County in North Carolina, where the governor announced a statewide mask mandate on Wednesday.

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"As for COVID-19, the bottom line is that if you have a valid Concealed Carry permit, you may carry a concealed handgun while wearing a mask as protection from COVID-19," Rogers wrote on Wednesday. "The mask must, however, be worn for health/safety reasons — not to hide or disguise your identity — and the mask must be removed if you are asked to do so by a Law Enforcement Officer."

An electronic sign on Santa Monica Boulevard reminds people to wear masks to limit the spread of coronavirus, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Illinois officials ordered people to wear face masks in public places on May 1, and Virginia's mandate went into effect on May 9.

Sheriffs in Illinois and Virginia shared messages similar to Rogers'. Sheriff Donald L. Smith of August County, Virginia, said he received "numerous questions" about the issue.

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"This order doesn’t restrict your ability to conceal a firearm legally," Smith wrote on Facebook. "Wearing a face mask (that covers your nose and mouth) while carrying a weapon is not a violation of this VA Code Section."

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