Cities, Wake County reinstate mask mandates; private businesses must make own plans
The requirement applies to employees and visitors to all public buildings and facilities like government offices, libraries and courts. It takes effect on Monday.Posted — Updated
The requirement applies to employees and visitors to all public buildings and facilities like government offices, libraries and courts. It takes effect on Monday.
People using Fayetteville Area System of Transit must also wear masks, while practicing six feet of social distancing. Ridership for each bus is now 22, instead of 35.
The Wake County Public School System already has a mask mandate in place, but a formal announcement has not been made about the new school year.
Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria said Friday that 70% of the adult population in Wake County is now vaccinated, but while that number is hopeful, cases and hospitalizations are still rising. Cases are up in Wake County 279% since beginning of June, Calabria said, calling the mask mandate a "temporary normal," not permanent.
"Letting our guard down now is like being in the lead in the last lap of a race and deciding you're just going to take your foot off the gas ... we've got to see this through," Calabria said.
The increase in COVID cases complicates things for local businesses, which are not bound by the city and county orders but must set their own guidelines for employees and customers.
"Unfortunately, I think we are seeing another wave come through," said Chris Powers of Young Hearts Distilling.
His new company is just coming together, and with his co-owner he is planning to open to the public soon.
"We are starting to think, 'how do we set up for these things as they arrive?'" he said.
He knows no matter the plan he puts into place, it's likely he'll have to adapt again.
Like businesses and universities, the state's counties and school districts will be able to set their own mask policies. Many local school districts, including Wake, Durham and Orange, currently have mask mandates in place, but Johnston County Schools went against state and national guidance and announced Thursday that masks will be optional.
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