Charlotte Mayor Backtracks After Saying She Lacks The Authority To Mandate Masks

CHARLOTTE, NC –  Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is walking back her comments about her authority to implement a mask mandate.  Lyles was asked during a news conference Monday about bringing back the mask mandate, and while she touted their effectiveness in stopping the spread, she said she didn’t have the power to make that decision, which isn’t the case.

“I would say that we’re all concerned,” said Lyles, speaking to reporters during a monthly news conference.

“We have not been able to achieve what we needed to achieve,” continued Lyles, “and this new variant really has caused a ripple of concern that I think was not expected by many of us who were just living our lives everyday.”

The state is experiencing the largest single day increase of hospital patients due to Covid since the pandemic began. Mecklenburg county recorded 1700 new cases on Monday. But the mayor stopped short of announcing a mask mandate.

“I do not have the power to mandate a mask requirement for the city of Charlotte,” said Lyles during the news conference.

Later, Lyles issued a statement saying that she does, in fact,  have the power to issue a mask mandate, but won’t move forward without guidance from the county health department and input from the other towns.

“We have to understand what we can do and have an approach that allows us to prepare people to get it done,” said Lyles.

Two weeks ago, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said she’s not ready to implement a mask mandate. It’s unclear if that stance has since changed.

“There should be for sure,” said Lark Schulze of Charlotte.

Some people say they’re eager to bring the masks back for everyone.

“This pandemic is sort of taking over and common sense is disappearing,” said Schulze.

While others say they are less concerned.

“God didn’t create us to wear a mask. I want to see your smile. When I talk to you I want to see your facial expressions,” said one man.