What You Need to Know About North Carolina’s Mask Mandate
Written By Paige Pahlke
Over the past few weeks, the number of North Carolina residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 has been rising and the number of COVID-related hospitalizations has been increasing. In response to these concerning statistics, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order on Wednesday, June 24th making it mandatory for North Carolina residents to wear masks in public and also extending Phase II of reopening until at least July 17th.
When does the mask mandate go into effect?
Friday, June 26th at 5 p.m.
How is a face covering (mask) defined?
A face covering/mask is defined as a covering that covers the nose and mouth and that is secured to your head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. An ideal face-covering/mask has two or more layers of material.
Who does it apply to?
People must wear masks in the following settings, whether inside or outside unless an exception applies:
- Retail Businesses: All workers must wear masks when they are or maybe within six (6) feet of another person. All customers must wear masks when they are inside the establishment and maybe within (6) feet of another person.
- Restaurants: All workers must wear masks when they are or maybe within six (6) feet of another person. All customers must wear masks when not at their table.
- Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses: All workers must wear masks when they are or maybe within six (6) feet of another person. All customers must wear masks when they are inside the establishment and maybe within six (6) feet of another person. Customers may take off their mask if they are receiving a facial treatment, shave, or other services on a part of the head which the mask covers or by which the mask is secured.
- Child Care Facilities, Day Camps, and Overnight Camps: All workers, all other adults, and children eleven (11) years or older on site must wear face masks when they are or maybe within six ( 6) feet of another person.
- State Government: State government agencies headed by members of the Governor’s Cabinet must have their on-site workers wear masks when they are or maybe within six (6) feet of another person. Public-facing operations of state government agencies under the jurisdiction of Governor Cooper must also follow the requirements for Retail Businesses set forth above.
- Transportation: All workers and riders on public or private transportation regulated by the State of North Carolina, as well as all people in North Carolina airports, bus and train stations or stops, must wear Face Coverings when they are or maybe within six ( 6) feet of another person. This provision DOES apply to ride-shares, cabs, vans, and shuttles, even if the vehicles are privately owned. This provision does not apply to people traveling in personal vehicles with family or friends.
- Certain High-Density Occupational Settings Where Social Distancing is Difficult: All workers in manufacturing settings, at construction sites, and in the migrant farm, other farms, and agricultural settings must wear masks when they are or maybe within six ( 6) feet of another person.
- Meat or Poultry Processing Plants: All workers in any meat or poultry processing plant, packing plant, or slaughterhouse must wear masks when they are or maybe within six (6) feet of another person. The masks MUST be surgical masks, as long as surgical masks are available.
- Long Term Care Facilities: All workers in Long Term Care Facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, family care homes, mental health group homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, must wear masks while in the facility. The masks MUST be surgical masks, as long as surgical masks are available.
- Other Health Care Settings: Health care facilities other than long term care facilities must follow the mask requirements in the CDC Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19).
What are the exceptions to the mask mandate?
- If you have a medical or behavioral condition that makes wearing a mask unsafe;
- Children under eleven (11) years old;
- If you are actively eating or drinking;
- If you are strenuously exercising;
- If you are seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
- If you are giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience;
- If you are working at home or you are in a personal vehicle;
- If you temporarily remove your mask for identification purposes when seeking to secure government or medical services;
- If you would be at risk from wearing a mask at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
- If your mask is impeding your visibility when operating equipment or a vehicle; and
- A child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place a mask safely on the child’s face.