Gov. Cooper lifts capacity & social distancing rules, and most mask mandates

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NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday announced that the state is completely lifting all mandatory capacity, gathering limits and social distancing requirements, effective immediately.

That means that in most settings, indoors or outdoors, the state will no longer require North Carolinians to wear a mask or be socially distant.

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Most mandatory mask mandates will also be lifted.

Cooper said the mask mandated will remain in effect on public transportation, in child care, in schools, in prisons and in certain public health settings.

NCDHHS continues to recommend that unvaccinated people wear masks. Anyone who feels better protected or has received advice from a doctor should continue to wear a mask, Cooper said.

Cooper previously announced that the state would likely back off of most COVID-19 restrictions on June 1, but expressed that he wanted 2/3 of adults to be vaccinated before he did so.

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

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but helps clear the way for reopening workplaces and schools.

Many Brunswick County residents say they are happy see the restrictions go.

“I’m really happy about it, I think it’s great. You know, we need that natural air. I’m not sure, I mean in some ways, I can see the masks, you know, works, but honestly like at this point especially if us have been vaccinated, I’m ready to just have it off,” said Alma Waters, resident.

Another says that he believes many people will remain cautious despite the new ease of restrictions.

“You know, we want some relief, and we like to get back to some normalcy. I think probably most people will still air on the side of caution and continue to wear them,” said resident Ron Gueterman.

Some believe the new mandate will cause confusion.

“I think it will cause confusion, and I think if people and I think if people wish to continue to wear a mask, and feel better, and healthier doing that, then that’s fine,” said Ed Salkind, resident.