Beginning tomorrow, face masks are required in North Carolina

Residents and visitors to North Carolina will be required to wear "face coverings" in public places beginning Friday, June 26. at 5 p.m. The Executive order expires on July 17.

According to Executive Order 147 signed June 24 by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, "Face coverings will be required in public places with some exceptions."


Cooper's EO instructs that face coverings must be worn in public and mandates that masks or other types of face coverings in any public locale where it is not possible to keep six feet separation between individuals.




Section II. New Requirements to Wear Face Coverings.


Executive Order No. 141 is amended to add the following section.


Section 3.5. Face Coverings.


For the reasons and pursuant to the authority set forth above, the undersigned orders as follows:


A. Definitions. "Face Covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. A Face Covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. Ideally, a Face Covering has two (2) or more layers. A Face Covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. These Face Coverings are not intended for use by healthcare providers in the care of patients. "Surgical Mask" means American Society for Testing and Materials ("ASTM") Level 1, 2, or 3 approved procedural and surgical masks. An N95 respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ("NIOSH") ( or a respirator from another country allowed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Food & Drug Administration, or the CDC) is not recommended for general public use or use in public settings, as it should be reserved for healthcare providers and other medical first responders in a health care setting. However, ifworn, these respirators would meet both the Face Covering and Surgical Mask requirements of this Executive Order. A face shield that covers the nose and mouth also meets the Face Covering requirements of this Executive Order.


B. Where Face Coverings Are Required. People are required to wear Face Coverings in the following settings, whether they are inside or outside, unless an exception applies.


1. In Retail Businesses. Retail Businesses must have all workers wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person. In addition, Retail Businesses must have all customers wear Face Coverings when they are inside the establishment and may be within ( 6) feet of another person, unless the customer states that an exception applies.


2. In Restaurants. Restaurants must have all workers wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person. In addition, restaurants must have all customers wear Face Coverings when not at their table, unless the customer states that an exception applies.


3. In Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses. Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses must have workers wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person. In addition, the business must have all customers wear Face Coverings when they are inside the establishment and may be within six (6) feet of another person, unless the customer states that an exception applies. Customers may take off their Face Coverings ift hey are receiving a facial treatment, shave, or other services on a part ofthe head which the Face Covering covers or by which the Face Covering is secured.


4. In Child Care Facilities, Day Camps, and Overnight Camps. Child care facilities, day camps, and overnight camps must have workers, all other adults, and children eleven (11) years or older on site wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person.


5. In State Government. State government agencies headed by members of the Governor's Cabinet must have their on-site workers wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six (6) feet of another person. Public-facing operations of state government agencies under the jurisdiction of the undersigned must also follow the requirements for Retail Businesses established in this Executive Order. All other state and local government agencies are strongly encouraged to adopt similar policies that require Face Coverings.


6. In Transportation. All workers and riders on public or private transportation regulated by the State of North Carolina, as well as all people in North Carolina airports, bus and train stations or stops, must wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person. This provision does not apply to people traveling alone with household members or friends in their personal vehicles, but does apply to ride-shares, cabs, vans, and shuttles, even if the vehicles are privately owned. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no customer will be removed from or denied entry to public transportation for failure to wear a Face Covering.


7. In 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 businesses or operations within North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors 311 to 339 (manufacturing), 236 to 238 (construction), and 111, 112, 1151, and 1152 (agriculture), all workers must wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six ( 6) feet of another person.


8. In Meat or Poultry Processing Plants. All workers in any meat or poultry processing plant, packing plant, or slaughterhouse must wear Face Coverings when they are or may be within six (6) feet of another person, and those Face Coverings must be Surgical Masks, as long as Surgical Mask supplies are available.


9. Long Term Care Facilities. All workers in Long Term Care ("LTC") Facilities, including skilled nursing facilities ("SNF"), adult care homes ("ACH"), family care homes ("FCH"), mental health group homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities ("ICF-IID"), must wear Face Coverings while in the facility, and those Face Coverings must be Surgical Masks, as long as Surgical Mask supplies are available.


10. Other Health Care Settings. Health care facilities other than L TC facilities must follow the Face Covering requirements in the CDC Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19).


C. Exceptions. This Executive Order does not require Face Coverings for-and a Face Covering does not need to be worn by-a worker, customer, or patron 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 eleven ( 11) years of age;


3. Is actively eating or drinking;


4. Is strenuously exercising;


5. Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;


6. Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience;


7. Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle;


8. Is temporarily removing his or her Face Covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes;


9. Would be at risk from wearing a Face Covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;


10. Has found that his or her Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle; or


11. Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the Face Covering safely on the child's face.


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.


Children under two (2) years of age should not wear a Face Covering.


D. Application of Exceptions. Under this Executive Order, all North Carolinians will be on the honor system about whether or not there is a reason why they cannot wear a Face Covering. Everyone in this state is asked to tell the truth and-ifthey are healthy and able to wear a mask-to wear a Face Covering so that they do not put other people at risk of serious illness and death.


E. How Businesses May Accommodate Exceptions. If a customer states that an exception applies, a business may choose to offer curbside service, provide home delivery, or use some other reasonable measure to deliver its good or services.


F. Enforcement of Face Covering Requirements.


1. Citations under this Section shall be written only to businesses or organizations that fail to enforce the requirement to wear Face Coverings. Operators of businesses and organizations are entitled to rely on their customers or patrons' statements about whether or not they are excepted from the Face Covering requirements, and businesses and organizations do not violate this Executive Order if they rely on such statements.


2. Law enforcement personnel are not authorized to criminally enforce the Face Covering requirements of this Executive Order against individual workers, customers, or patrons.


3. However, if a business or organization does not allow entry to a worker, customer, or patron because that person refuses to wear a Face Covering, and if that worker, customer, or patron enters the premises or refuses to leave the premises, law enforcement personnel may enforce the trespassing laws and any other laws (other than N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 14-288.20A) that the worker, customer, or patron may violate.

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