Does anyone else just feel defeated lately? I’ve got more bad news, unfortunately, it just seems like we are going backward. The Mecklenburg County mask mandate goes into effect on August 28th. Wait a minute did you think it was yesterday? Well in a way you’re correct. The city of Charlotte’s indoor mask mandate began Wednesday at 5 pm. The county voted yesterday to institute a county-wide mandate that will begin in 10 days or August 28th.

County commissioners voted yesterday to pass the mandate, part of a larger Public Health Rule. It passed 6-2. Masks will now be mandated in all Mecklenburg County Towns including  Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville.

“The bottom line is we need people to get vaccinated and we need people to wear masks,” said Mecklenburg County health director Gibbie Harris. Harris also said that cases went from an average of 44 cases per day at the end of June to 473 cases per day in mid-August.

Details of the mask mandate

  • The mandate requires anyone 5 years old or older to wear a mask while indoors.
  • This applies to stores, restaurants, movie theaters,  gyms, offices, etc.
  • A mask must be worn while indoors unless you are eating or drinking.
  • Private schools, many of whom did not require masks, will now be under this mandate.

Below is an excerpt from Mecklenburg County’s website detailing the mandate:

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 CharlotteThe 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. 

During the meeting one citizen who spoke his optinon called the mandate “an abuse of power” and also said he would refuse to obey it. A business owner also called the order “tyrannical” and fears that it will hurt local businesses. I know several people who have mentioned they will now go to other counties to run errands or go out to eat just to avoid having to wear a mask.

Who is exempt from the mask mandate?

  • People with medical or behavioral conditions or disabilities (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated)
  • Anyone who is actively eating or drinking
  • Masks may be removed if you are seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires your mouth to be visible
  • Giving a speech or performance for a broadcast. The audience must maintain at least 20 feet separation. The audience is still required to wear masks if indoors
  • Has found face coverings impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
  • Places of worship, religious ceremonies like weddings, and funerals are also exempt in the City of Charlotte and county-wide mandate.

It is expected that residents will voluntarily comply, however, according to the mandate a person can be charged with a misdemeanor if they fail to wear a mask. Businesses can also be shut down by the health department for failure to comply. Enforcement will be placed on the businesses but they are encouraged to call 911 if patrons refuse to leave or wear a mask.

It’s also important to note from the excerpt above that the Mecklenburg County mask mandate will be in effect until we see “decline in the positivity rate to 5% for thirty (30) days”. Which I take to mean thirty consecutive days, this means it will most likely be months with this mandate. However, health officials are optimistic these measures will help reduce the spread.