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Cooper encourages schools, local governments to end mask mandates

Gov. Cooper urges local governments to end local mask mandates
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 6:00 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2022 at 2:50 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper is encouraging school systems and local governments to drop their mask mandates.

“We ended North Carolina’s statewide mask mandate last spring and have relied on local school boards, local governments & local public health officials to make good decisions,” Cooper said during a news conference Thursday. “For the most part, they have. I’m grateful for local officials who have done amazing work to protect children and save lives in difficult circumstances. The Omicron variant of this virus overran the nation quickly. Now, just as fast as the numbers peaked, they are falling.

“This variant is clearly much more contagious, yet generally causes less severe illness, particularly to people who are vaccinated and boosted. And now people know how to gauge their level of risk and decide how best to protect themselves.

“As a result of all of these factors, I encourage schools and local governments to end their mask mandates.”

Cooper added that in certain places, like health care, long-term care and public transportation settings, masks will still be required due to their settings or federal regulations.

“Learning to live with this virus is a reality we will continue facing,” Cooper said. “Some people, including me, will feel more comfortable wearing a mask in crowds. Parents may still want their children wearing a mask at school. Businesses may want their employees and customers wearing masks.

“At this stage of the pandemic, it is right for them to make these choices in most situations. The most important thing people need to know is vaccines provide the strongest protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from this virus.”

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