Cooper Announces Statewide Mask Requirement; Extension of Phase Two

CHARLOTTE, NC – A double announcement on Wednesday by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to require masks and extend phase two of the reopen plan. 

The mask requirement will go into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Phase two will continue through July 17th. 

“It’s clear that our numbers will keep us from moving to the next phase of easing restrictions,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the State Health Director. 

The announcement by Cooper keeps bars and gyms closed. Other businesses will continue to operate at a fraction of their capacity. Health experts say key metrics are continuing an upward trend.

State Republicans blasted Cooper for extending phase two and not being harsher on mass gatherings and large protests. 

“The inconsistencies and hypocrisy continue to eat away at the trust in and credibility of this administration,” wrote State Senator Phil Berger. 

“If each person commits to wearing a face covering, we can stabilize our COVID-19 trends,” said Cohen.

“Overwhelming evidence that is growing by the week shows that wearing a face covering can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Cooper. 

Face coverings will be required:

  • Indoors or outdoors 
  • When 6 feet of physical distance is not possible. 
  • Employees in businesses must also wear masks

“Required face coverings not only cause zero harm to the economy, they in fact help the economy by making it safer to shop, do business,” said Cooper.

Some exemptions to the rule include:

  • Medical condition or disability
  • Under 11 years old
  • Actively eating or drinking
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Working at home or in a personal vehicle

“The responsibility here is on the businesses and organizations to make sure that their employees and customers wear these face coverings,” said Cooper.

Law enforcement can cite the business for not requiring masks. If a customer refuses to wear a mask, then law enforcement can use trespassing laws to protect the business and remove the customer. 

“Wearing a face covering in public settings is a simple but powerful action to slow the spread of this virus,” said Cohen. 

Cooper says he will make another announcement next week regarding how North Carolina schools will reopen.