To address the COVID-19 virus and the Delta variant, the Board of County Commissioners is issuing a Public Health Rule that requires all people to wear face coverings in indoor public places. The Board agrees that prompt action is necessary at this time by all people.
Currently, in Mecklenburg County, 50% of residents are fully vaccinated. There is no currently approved vaccine for children under the age of 12. Mecklenburg County urges everyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Vaccinated people are less likely to contract COVID-19, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined vaccinated people can retransmit the disease to others. The vast majority of infected persons, and the most severe cases of the illness are those who have not been vaccinated.
“We need to slow the viral transmission and community spread as much as possible,” said Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. “Face coverings slow the spread.”
“We know vaccines are best. But there are people who can’t get vaccinated,” said Board Chair George Dunlap, “Let’s protect all children under 12 years old and our most vulnerable in our County.”
“If we act now, we can avoid more restrictions in the future,” said County Manager Dena R. Diorio.
This Public Health Rule goes into effect on August 31, 2021. This is in addition to the action taken by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s proclamation. That proclamation begins today at 5 p.m. and will be in effect through September 1, 2021 unless sooner rescinded or terminated.
The new rule mandates that Face Coverings must be worn in any indoor public place, business, or establishment within Mecklenburg County, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement applies to all individuals who are at least five years of age in all areas of the County including all towns and the City of Charlotte. The rule will expire based on metrics -- a decline in the positivity rate to 5% for thirty (30) days where the community transmission rate is not in the high or substantial level, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the transmission in the County drops below the substantial level, the Public Health Director will recommend that the rule be suspended.
Any business or establishment in need of signage candownload this flyer for printing and posting to educate patrons of the Public Health Rule.
There are exceptions to the face covering mandate. Face Coverings do not need to be worn by someone who:
(1) Should not wear a Face Covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the Face Covering without assistance);
(2) Is under five (5) years of age; (3) Is actively eating or drinking; (4) Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible; (5) Is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast, or to an audience, where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience; (6) Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle; (7) Is temporarily removing their Face Covering for identification purposes to secure government or medical services; (8) Would be at risk from wearing a Face Covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines; (9) Has found that their Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle;
(10) Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the Face Covering safely on the child's face; (11) Is alone in an enclosed space, such as a room, office or vehicle; or (12) Is in settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a Face Covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming.
Worship, religious, spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights are exempt from all requirements of this Rule, notwithstanding any other provision of this Rule.
Anyone who declines to wear a Face Covering for these reasons should not be required to produce documentation or any other proof of a condition. Everyone is asked to tell the truth and if they are healthy and able to wear a Face Covering so that they do not put other people at risk of serious illness and death.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I am indoors but am socially distanced or not close to others, do I still have to wear a mask?
Yes. If you are in a public indoor space, you are required to wear a mask regardless of social distancing and/or your vaccination status.
If I own a business, do I have to require customers to wear a mask?
Yes. You must require customers who do not fit in to one of the exemptions to wear a mask while at your establishment.
What should I do if I see someone not complying with the mandate?
You can call 3-1-1 to report the violation.
As a business owner, what should I do if I have customers who refuse to comply?
Call 9-1-1 to request Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to respond.
How long will this mask mandate be in effect?
The Public Health Rule is based on the current COVID-19 metrics and the duration of the Public Health Rule will be dependent on the metrics improving.
If I live in one of the towns in Mecklenburg County, do I have to follow the mask mandate?
After August 28, you are required to wear a mask indoors at public places in that town. However, if you travel into the City of Charlotte or an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County, you will need to have a mask if you plan to visit a public indoor space starting today at 5 p.m.
I’m unvaccinated – should I still consider getting the vaccine?
Yes. Mecklenburg County Public Health urges all eligible people who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid further restrictions.
For more information about the mask mandate, the vaccine and COVID-19, please visit mecknc.gov/covid-19.
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Mecklenburg County Public Health encourages all eligible residents ages 12 and older to get a free COVID-19 vaccination.