NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Notice is hereby given that the New Hanover County Health and Human Services (HHS) Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 8 a.m. to discuss and receive public comments on the proposed health rule that requires face coverings in all indoor public places within New Hanover County.
The public hearing will be held in the multipurpose room of the Health and Human Services building, located at 1650 Greenfield Street in Wilmington. In addition, the public may view the meeting live at NHCTV.com, youtube.com/NewHanoverCo and Spectrum Cable channel 13; or listen to the meeting by dialing 415-655-0003 and when prompted for a meeting ID, press 808 594 284, then the pound sign (#).
The proposed health rule, which can be viewed at Health.NHCgov.com, was first discussed by the HHS Board at its August 17 meeting due to the rising COVID-19 case counts and highly-contagious Delta variant, surge in hospitalizations, and the virus’ threat to the overall health of the community. At that time, the board voted to move forward with the proposed rule and to invite public comments for at least 10 days and then hold a public hearing, according to statutory requirements, before taking action to implement the rule.
In the interim, a Public Health Order of Abatement was issued effective Friday, August 20 that requires face coverings in all indoor public places. This order will remain in place until a determination is made by the Health and Human Services Board regarding the proposed health rule.
Public comments on the proposed rule have been open since August 17 and can continue to be submitted here through Monday, August 30 at noon. All comments received through the online form will be submitted into the record during the public hearing.
The public can also attend the public hearing in person and speak about the proposed rule on August 31 at 8 a.m. Comments must be limited to 3 minutes each; and a total of 45 minutes will be allotted for public comments during the hearing. This is in keeping with HHS Board operating procedures.
According to New Hanover County’s Administrative Policy for Face Coverings on County Property, individuals from the public who participate in indoor meetings of the Board of Commissioners, Planning Board, Health and Human Services Board, or any other county board or committee are now required to wear face coverings, and exemptions will not be recognized.
Based on the administrative policy, if someone attends the HHS Board meeting and does not have a face covering, they will be offered a face covering. If they refuse to wear a face covering, they will not be allowed to attend the meeting in person, but will be able to view or listen to it remotely as noted above. Public comments can be submitted ahead of the meeting, as outlined above, and those will be shared with the board ahead of the meeting and submitted into the public record by the board chair.