North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday he is signing an executive order aimed at strengthening the state’s mandate involving face masks.
Executive Order No. 180 goes into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, and runs through 5 p.m. Friday, December 11.
“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”
“Our statewide mask requirement has been in effect since June and it is still our best weapon in this fight,” Cooper said during a press conference. “Today’s executive order will further tighten that mandate, making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever you are with someone you don’t live with.”
The governor says this means residents should even be wearing masks at home when friends or family are visiting. “It means a mask at work, at the gym, at the store, at school.”
Some of the biggest changes to the stricter mask guidelines affect businesses. The order now requires people to wear a mask while they’re exercising, whether that’s inside or not.
The order also says customers should wear them while at their table at a restaurant unless they are actively eating or drinking. Previous orders allowed for customers to keep them off if they were sitting down at the table.
Restaurant owners say it will be tough to enforce, they’re asking customers to willingly comply to hopefully make numbers go down.
“We have to follow the rules to stay open. It’s just best to follow the rules. We’re going to make sure you have the best time possible,” said Jeff Tonidandel, who owns Haberdish. “We don’t want to follow up with you. We don’t want to be policemen, that’s not why we signed up for the hospitality business.”
The order also “strengthens the role of businesses in ensuring masks are worn by everyone in the store – staff and customers – and that they are abiding by capacity limits so that people can stay distant and can stay safe, Cooper said.
The Order requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.