NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County will reinstitute its mandatory face covering policy for all county employees and customers inside county facilities, effective at 8 a.m. on Friday, August 6, 2021. The policy, which can be viewed here, applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, who is inside a county building unless they qualify for an exemption outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The policy does not apply to outdoor spaces on county properties and is specific to county-owned buildings only, not to the entire county as a whole.
The implementation of this indoor face covering mandate comes after notable increases in daily new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with another 386 new cases reported to Public Health over the last week and a total of 784 cases presumed active in the community. In addition, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday, which is the highest one-day increase in several months.
The CDC also recently recommended that everyone in areas designated as substantial spread or higher, wear a face covering in public indoor settings, even those who are fully vaccinated, to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others. New Hanover County is categorized as having high transmission as of August 5, according to the CDC’s data tracker.
“New Hanover County’s primary responsibility is to serve our citizens,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “With the recent increases in viral spread tied to the Delta variant, vital county services for our community are put at risk if employees are exposed or infected. So following CDC guidance and implementing an indoor face covering mandate will help protect our community and our citizens. We have prioritized public health and safety throughout the pandemic and continue to do that with this implementation.”
Disposable face coverings will be available to citizens inside county buildings, if needed.
The CDC notes that those who should not wear face coverings include: children under 2 years of age, a person with a disability who cannot wear a face covering, or cannot safely wear a face covering, for reasons related to the disability, and a person for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the workplace risk assessment. All others should wear a face covering to protect themselves and others when inside public spaces. Learn more here.
In addition to the face coverings policy, the county’s management team is currently reviewing a possible vaccine policy for employees, following the vaccine recommendation from the Health and Human Services Board that was received earlier this week. Additional details regarding any policy framework will be shared next week.