augusta free press news

Schilling, shop owner file suit against Northam, state officials over facial coverings

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

A Charlottesville radio host and a local businessman are filing suit over Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order requiring Virginians to wear facial coverings in public places.

Rob Schilling, who hosts a news talk show on WINA-1070 AM in Charlottesville, and Tobey Bouch, owner of Tobey’s Pawn Shop, filed the suit in Albemarle County District Court.

The suit names Northam among the defendants, challenging the validity of Northam’s Executive Order Sixty-Three, which went into effect on May 29.

Former Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Hardin, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said Tobey’s Pawn is concerned for the health and safety of its patrons and employees.

“The governor has put business owners between a rock and a hard place in suggesting that business entities will be punished for not enforcing his questionable mandates,” Hardin said.

In the suit, the plaintiffs note “numerous public statements” from Northam and other state officials that “contradict the express terms” of the executive order, most notably the governor’s suggestion last week that either the order will not be enforced at all, or will be enforced only in “egregious” circumstances.

The suit also notes the contradiction between the executive order and state law making the wearing of a mask, outside of celebrating Halloween, performing in public theater, engaging in work that requires the wearing of a mask for safety reasons, or having a medical necessity.

“There is no one above the law, and that includes the governor and his minions,” Schilling said. “Executive Order Sixty-Three is legally flawed and must be rescinded. The public trust has been seriously abused by the governor’s wanton actions.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press