North Carolina lifts nearly all COVID-19 restrictions, masks still required in certain indoor settings

COVID-19 Vaccine

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has lifted some of North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements and most mandatory mask requirements effective immediately.

“That means in most settings indoors or outdoors the state will no longer require you to wear a mask or be socially distant,” Cooper said.

Masks will still be required on public transportation, at child care facilities, prisons, schools and certain public health settings – even for those who are fully vaccinated.

“I have a message for people who have not been vaccinated, and especially those who will choose not to wear a mask. Get vaccinated now. If you don’t listen to me, ask your doctor and do what your doctor tells you,” Cooper said.

Dr. Mandy Cohen said everyone should wear a mask – regardless of vaccination status – at sporting events and live performances.

As of Friday, North Carolina has administered more than 7.7 million doses of vaccine.

At least 51 percent percent of adults are at least partially vaccinated, and 46 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated.

The changes announced Friday stem from Executive Order 215.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

Cooper maintained that the state’s mask mandate was in place on Thursday following the CDC’s new guidance before announcing the new changes on Friday.

Many retail businesses are keeping mask requirements in place across the country — such as Harris Teeter, Target, Starbucks, and Home Depot.

While Cooper is lifting the mask mandate, Vidant Health said it would stick with existing coronavirus restrictions, which include mandatory masks for team members and visitors.

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