On June 24, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced the state would remain in its Safer at Home Phase 2 designation for an additional three weeks to end on July 17. The initial Phase 2 order was set to expire on June 26.
Cooper also put into place a mandate requiring everyone to wear a face covering in public spaces to help reduce community spread of COVID-19. The face coverings mandate goes into effect June 26 at 5 p.m.
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus.
Face coverings are not a substitute for other safety measures and should be used in addition to staying six feet apart, washing hands and staying home when ill.
For North Carolina businesses, protecting employees and customers is more important than ever as the state takes additional precautions to reduce infection rates. Here is additional guidance from the state to help businesses owners keep people safe.
Guidance for Businesses
Certain businesses must require patrons and employees wear face coverings when within six feet of others, unless an exception applies. These businesses, if permitted to operate under the Phase 2 order, must follow the requirements for face coverings as described in Executive Order 147.
Retail businesses must require workers wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person. In addition, retail businesses must require customers wear face coverings when they are inside the establishment and may be within six feet of another person, unless the customer states that an exception applies.
Restaurants must have all workers wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person. In addition, restaurants must have all customers wear face coverings when not at their table, unless the customer states that an exception applies.
Personal care, grooming and tattoo businesses
These establishments must have workers wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person. The business must also have all customers wear face coverings when they are inside the establishment and may be within six feet of another person, unless the customer states that an exception applies. Customers may remove their face coverings if they are receiving a facial treatment, shave, or other services on a part of the head which the face covering covers.
Child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps
Child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps must have workers, all other adults and children 11 years or older on-site wear face coverings when they are or may be within six feet of another person.
In some cases, customers or employees may not be required to wear a face covering. These exceptions include when an employee or customer:
- Has a medical or behavioral condition or disability and cannot wear a face covering (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance)
- Is under 11 years of age
- Is actively eating or drinking
- Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible
- Is temporarily removing his or her face covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes
- Would be at risk from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
- Has found that his or her face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
- Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the face covering safely on the child’s face. Children under two years of age should not wear a face covering.
Read the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ full list of face covering requirements and exceptions.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a Prevent and Protect Media Toolkit for businesses to display face covering requirements and other best practices. The toolkit includes signs in English and Spanish.