North Carolinians will remain in the “Safer at Home” Phase 2 for three more weeks and many will have to wear masks in public under a new state order from Gov. Roy Cooper.
Here’s what the latest order means:
Although health officials didn’t originally advise people to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, studies now show face coverings can help. Workers in personal care, grooming and tattoo businesses have been required to wear cloth face coverings under Phase 2. They still are, but the rule also applies to “workers in additional business segments” and “all people over the age of 2 in North Carolina” are strongly recommended to wear a face covering.
Certain people with medical or behavioral health issues, disabilities or other reasons do not have to wear masks in public and the order puts North Carolinians on the honor system to decide if they should be exempt.
This order does not require face coverings for workers, customers or patrons who:
Face coverings are required in many types of businesses, but businesses have the discretion to accommodate people who cannot wear face coverings by serving them at curbside, using home delivery, or using other means to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
All people over the age of 2 in North Carolina should use a face covering to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but some populations may experience increased anxiety and fear of bias and being profiled if wearing face coverings in public spaces, according to the new order. If someone is the target of ethnic or racial intimidation as the result of adhering to the face covering provision or as a result of the pandemic, they are encouraged to report the matter to law enforcement or another government entity.
People are required to wear face coverings at certain public places, whether inside or outside, unless the person is exempt from the rule, at the following locations:
Certain High-Density Occupational Settings where social distancing is difficult - Social distancing is inherently difficult where multiple workers are together in manufacturing settings, at construction sites, and in migrant farm, other farm, and agricultural settings. Therefore, in manufacturing, construction and agriculture, all workers must wear face coverings when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person.
Phase 2 was extended under the order until 5 p.m. on July 17.