North Carolina Tightens Existing Mask Requirements, Enforcement Due To Rapid Rise In COVID-19 Cases

NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country Monday.

This announcement comes after the state has seen multiple record breaking single-day case counts of over 4,000 positive cases. The highest case count for a 24 hour period was reported on Sunday with 4,514 new positive cases.

The order, titled Executive Order No. 180, goes into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and runs through Friday, December 11.

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household.

The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalization over the past week.

The system, which was introduced last week, shows that ten more counties have moved into the red category indicating critical community spread. This equals a total of 20 red counties and 42 orange counties.

“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.