Local News

Public split on Wake County officials' decision not requiring people to wear masks

Posted June 10, 2020 11:04 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2020 11:26 p.m. EDT

State officials say coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise in Wake County. As the numbers climb, Wake County has not required people to wear face masks in public. Other counties like Orange and Durham currently do.

Wake County commissioners said they are following CDC guidelines, which strongly suggest that you wear a mask while out in public. But those same guidelines don't require you to wear a mask. People who spoke with WRAL are split on that decision, too.

Some don't leave home without a mask.

“Let me just pull her out," said Ari Clayton, who had a mask with her but wasn't wearing it in her car. "I’m in the car. I don’t wear it in the car, but I wear it when I am in public places like this.”

It's been the great debate of late ... should residents be forced to wear a mask in public.

"I think forced is the wrong word but required or strongly suggested," said Amy McMillian.

The question is rising to the top in Wake County as coronavirus hospitalizations spike.

"I do feel like everyone should be required to wear a mask because we have seen the numbers the past few months," Calvin Brinkley said.

Wake County isn’t ready to make wearing a mask in public a requirement. Commissioner Vickie Adamson explained why during a Zoom interview.

“I think the first thing is it is really a hard thing to mandate," Adamson said. "We do have a lot of our private business that are requiring it to come into their establishments. I applaud them for doing that, but in a lot of business you really couldn’t mandate it, like in restaurants.”

The topic hasn't come up in meetings, said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.

“We have not had any discussions on this yet as a council," Baldwin said. "We are all aware that hospitalizations are on the rise, and we will be talking with Wake County for guidance as they lead on public health issues.”

For now, it appears the people will decide.

"I follow the data and the science," said Lisa Thalji. "Masks work. They are effective, I believe, in places where you can’t practice six to ten feet of physical distancing."

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