Local News

No mask necessary: Cary lifts mandate for face coverings, effective Friday

Posted October 28, 2021 4:46 a.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2021 11:23 a.m. EDT

— The town of Cary will no longer require face coverings indoors starting on Friday.

Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said decreasing coronavirus cases in Cary and across Wake County were part of the reason to rescind the mandate.

"Thanks to our high vaccination rate and the concern you've shown for each other through continued masking, positive case rates have once again declined significantly, which allows us to relax restrictions while still encouraging caution," said Weinbrecht in a press release.

The mandate was enacted on Aug. 18 when the delta variant caused a sharp increase in cases in Cary and across North Carolina.

The change does not apply to GoCary or the Cary Depot, where masks will still be required by federal order until at least Jan. 18.

Cary business owners said the mask debate has been complicated.

"We have some customers that are adamant they want to wear their mask and some are adamant they don't. So, we're in between, and we have to serve both," said Perfect Piece owner Rebecca Ennis.

Ennis said while the mask mandate is in place, she requires that her employees wear masks. Customers to the store are not required to mask up because, Ennis said, the mandate included too many exceptions for employees to be able to enforce it.

"In our store, we want to be safe for everybody, and we want everybody to be comfortable, so we have our masks and we wear them when we're interacting with customers," she said.

Debbi Haskins and her sister own a cleaning company that serves businesses and homes. Haskins said she defers to their clients when it comes to masks, but she doesn't think mandates work.

"I don't think they really work," said Haskins. "I think people are going to wear them or not. I think it's just their choice."

While it’s likely the mask mandate in Wake County will be extended, cities and towns within the county can make their own rules. Raleigh and Garner are already planning to keep mask mandates in place.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said she also has no plans to lift the city's indoor mask mandate until the CDC says the region has only moderate levels of viral transmission.

Wake County leaders said the mandate is based on the percentage of positive cases, which should be below 5%, and the spread, which should be considered moderate.

While the county's current number of positive COVID-19 cases is below 5%, leaders said the transmission spread is high.

Although Wake County's 3.3 percent positive rate is in the "low transmission" range, the rate of 100 cases per 100,000 residents would need to be cut by more than half to get into the moderate range.

Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon also have mask mandates in place, while Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Wake Forest and Wendell don't.

Even when mandates are lifted, doctors still recommend that people wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.