CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  Police have a directive and protocol to follow should there be an incident of violation of Gov. Jim Justice’s enhanced mandate.

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Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt

Justice announced last week face coverings are now required in all public buildings whether there is room for social distancing or not.

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Justice’s order also puts the responsibility for the enforcement, first upon the owner or manager of the public establishment.

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Speaking on 580-Live on 580-WCHS Monday, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said if someone wants to report a violation, they should first report it to the business owner.

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“Please bring it to the attention of whomever owns the establishment. From there, they can begin to enact the Governor’s orders to comply with the mandate. Should the police need to get involved, then they can give us a call,” Hunt said.

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What Hunt, Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford and Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin are hoping is the enhanced mandate doesn’t become a situation of people calling 911 to reporting violations.

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Amy Shuler Goodwin

“We don’t want a bunch of 911 calls of, ‘I heard that XYZ business isn’t following the mandate…’ don’t’ call 911 for that,” Goodwin said Monday.

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She said social media isn’t the place to call attention to someone or some business not following the mandate.

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“That’s not helpful to the police. All it does is distract them. Every officer I’ve spoken to says, ‘You make us run around and chase our tail when you do something like that,’” Goodwin told the radio audience.

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“If you’re in an establishment, the first thing you need to do is bring it to the attention of management. If you don’t’ comply, then we’ll intervene and if you don’t’ comply, then we can begin to effect a trespassing violation,” Hunt explained.

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He said Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatchers would also be following a protocol.

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“They are going to ask you a series of questions when you call in and the first one is–is anyone in immediate danger?”

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The intensified mask mandate comes as West Virginia is seeing pandemic-high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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