Cooper: We are lifting capacity limits, most mask requirements

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 2:44 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Mandatory capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements and most mandatory mask requirements will be lifted in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper said Friday.

“Effective immediately, we are lifting all mandatory capacity and gathering limits and social distancing requirements and most mandatory mask requirements. 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. “There will continue to be a mandatory indoor mask requirement on public transportation, in child care, in schools, in prisons and in certain public health settings. There will be strong recommendations by the NCDHHS for people to wear masks indoors in certain public places.

“There will also be strong recommendations from NCDHHS for unvaccinated people to wear masks. Certainly anyone who feels better protected or has received advice from a doctor should continue to wear a mask.”

Cooper said more than half of North Carolina adults are at least partially vaccinated and about 46 percent 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. “With more people not wearing masks going forward and COVID-19 and its more infectious variants spreading, there is a real risk that unvaccinated people can get it. Please be responsible and wear a mask until you get vaccinated.”

Posted by WECT News on Friday, May 14, 2021

The CDC’s new guidance allows fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

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.

Dory MacMillan, press secretary for Gov. Cooper, released a statement after the CDC’s announcement, pointing out that state health officials will still need to review the recommendations before lifting the state’s indoor mask mandate.

“The CDC announcement today on masks shows the important benefits of vaccinations. North Carolina two weeks ago removed the outdoor mask mandate, but the indoor mask mandate remains in effect while state health officials review the specific CDC recommendations,” the statement read.

Last month, Cooper lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate while increasing mass gathering limits to 100 indoors and 200 outdoors.

Cooper also announced plans to lift mandatory social distancing, and all capacity restrictions by June 1, while keeping in place the indoor mask mandate until the state reached two-thirds of adults at least partially vaccinated.

To date, 51 percent of North Carolina’s adult population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 45.5 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

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