Local News

Masks required again in Raleigh starting Friday night

Posted August 12, 2021 9:44 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2021 7:31 p.m. EDT

— The city of Raleigh is mandating face masks for everyone starting on Friday at 5p.m.

The new mandate would be enforced heavily through education and not law enforcement, according to Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.

Everyone, including those who have already got their shot, will be required to wear masks indoors in public, city officials said. That includes restaurants, bars, shops and government buildings.

“We’ve got to protect the public. It’s that simple," Baldwin said.

People must wear masks inside restaurants unless they are actively eating or drinking.

The city is also "strongly recommending" that people mask up in outdoor spaces when social distancing is not possible.

YMCA of the Triangle sent an alert out on Friday afternoon, notifying residents that all people ages 5 and older must wear a mask.

All city of Raleigh employees will be required to show proof of vaccination on Sept. 17. City employees who get their shot by Sept. 17 will receive a check of $250 and two days of bonus leave.

Anyone who does not get their shot by that date will have to undergo weekly testing.

Delta coronavirus rapidly spreading across NC

On Friday, the state reported more than 6,600 coronavirus cases were identified in the past 24 hours. That's more than all the permanent residents of Carolina Beach or nearly the entire population of Zebulon.

Friday's case count is the highest its been since late January, according to WRAL Data Trackers.

Cases are up 47% compared to a week ago, and more than 1,000% compared to a month ago.

Nearly a fourth of all cases reported in the first week of August are among children, state data shows. The majority of those case are among those 5 to 14 years old.

Hospitalizations across the state have been rising for 35 days straight. As a result, only 13% of all ICU beds and 20% of regular hospital beds in North Carolina are available.

Coronavirus deaths are inching back upward — an average of 13 people are dying each day from COVID-19 in North Carolina.

County-wide mask mandate

Wake County officials are also planning on issuing a mask mandate, but is still working to finalize the effective date.

Wake County had more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases in the first eight days of August, according to a presentation by Dr. Nicole Mushonga, the Associate Medical Director with Wake County Human Services.

Matt Calabria, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said that the mask mandate is beneficial to consumers and families, to ensure they are safe when entering places of business.

"We’ve got to hit it hard now because winter is coming, it’s going to get cold, there may be other variants that pop up …. The better footing we put ourselves in now the better we will be off in the long run," he said.

There's also been a nearly 1,000% increase in cases from the first week of June through the first week of August in Wake County. Hospitalizations increased by 123% over the last 14 days in the county.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears told WRAL News that while he doesn't want to have a mask mandate, it's necessary until the county could get its coronavirus cases down.

North Carolina's state mask mandate expired on July 30, as WRAL News previously reported. In the meantime, some of North Carolina's most-vaccinated counties are instituting their own rules.

“Nobody wants to do this but it’s ultimately necessary to make sure we are able to get out of this pandemic as quickly as possible," Calabria said.

Venues, events requiring vaccination, masks

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