Downtown locals, visitors react to Governor’s executive order relaxing outdoor mask mandate

Downtown locals react to lifting of outdoor mask mandate

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The outdoor mask mandate is officially lifted in North Carolina under Governor Cooper’s latest executive order.

Under the new order, that went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, masks are still required indoors, but no longer mandated outdoors. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services still strongly encourages everyone to wear masks outside when in a crowded area.

The opinions, just like the mask wearing, ranged on Friday evening. Some thought the move was long overdue.

“They do a good job protecting us, but if you are vaccinated then you should theoretically be safe, right?,” Wilmington resident Tyler Campbell said.

“I think it’s long overdue and being outside I don’t think you should wear a mask, but I think it’s common sense,” said Reide Perkins, who is visiting from Georgia.

Others felt like the timing of the order lifting the outdoor mask mandate was perfect.

“I think it’s just in time; I don’t think it’s long overdue, I think it’s time, it’s just time,” said Ricky Williams, a Wilmington native.

There was a mix of people wearing masks in downtown Wilmington before and after the mandate was lifted. Cyreeta and Rayford Boykin, who just moved to Wilmington from South Carolina, did not realize masks were no longer required outdoors starting at 5 p.m.

“We came down and somebody mentioned it to us and that’s why I got it in my hand now,” Rayford said.

“I heard about it on the news but I didn’t know how soon it was going to be,” Cyreeta added.

Even though everyone in North Carolina, vaccinated or not, can shed their mask outdoors now, some said they will stay masked up outside.

“I’m probably still going to wear my mask when I’m out, you know, in public and what not but that’s just me trying to be conscious of other people, you know, I’m vaccinated but I still want to, you know, respect other people,” said Webster Dambax, visiting from Boone, N.C. “I don’t really mind it, so it doesn’t really bother me all that much.”

Many can agree, however, that the lifted outdoor mask mandate is a welcome and refreshing change.

“A lot of fresh air, you know, can’t go wrong with that,” Cyreeta said.

“I want to be able to come outside and get a lot of fresh air so without wearing these — you don’t have to wear them outside — it feels great,” Rayford said.

“It feels good to me, it feels good just sitting here with no mask on — it’s grand. Everybody take a little taste of it,” Williams said. “It’s the best thing in the world to see people back on the streets.”

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