New Hanover Co. to require face-coverings inside county buildings starting Friday

Face mask (Photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County announced it will reinstate its mandatory face-covering policy for all county employees and customers inside county buildings on Thursday.

The mandate will take effect Friday at 8 am. The policy applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status unless they qualify for an exemption outlined by the CDC. It does not apply to outdoor spaces on county property and only applies to county-owned buildings, not the entire county as a whole.

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The implementation of this indoor face-covering mandate comes after notable increases in daily new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with another 386 new cases reported to Public Health over the last week and a total of 784 cases presumed active in the community. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday, which is the highest one-day increase in several months.

The CDC also recently recommended that everyone in areas designated as substantial spread or higher, wear a face-covering in public indoor settings, even those who are fully vaccinated, to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others. New Hanover County is categorized as having high transmission as of August 5, according to the CDC’s data tracker.

“New Hanover County’s primary responsibility is to serve our citizens,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “With the recent increases in viral spread tied to the Delta variant, vital county services for our community are put at risk if employees are exposed or infected. So following CDC guidance and implementing an indoor face-covering mandate will help protect our community and our citizens. We have prioritized public health and safety throughout the pandemic and continue to do that with this implementation.”

Disposable face coverings will be available to citizens inside county buildings if needed.

The CDC notes that those who should not wear face coverings include: children under 2 years of age, a person with a disability who cannot wear a face covering, or cannot safely wear a face covering, for reasons related to the disability, and a person for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the workplace risk assessment. All others should wear a face covering to protect themselves and others when inside public spaces. Learn more here.

In addition to the face coverings policy, thFae county’s management team is currently reviewing a possible vaccine policy for employees, following the vaccine recommendation from the Health and Human Services Board that was received earlier this week. Additional details regarding any policy framework will be shared next week.

COVID-19 Data in New Hanover County:

  • As of August 5, there have been 20,740 total cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, including 386 new cases over the last week.
  • Of the total number of cases, 19,776 have recovered and 784 cases are presumed to still be active. Sadly, 180 people have died from the virus.
  • In New Hanover County, approximately 131,335 residents (about 56 percent) have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and approximately 123,465 residents (about 53 percent) are fully vaccinated and protected from COVID-19.

NHC Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics (no appointment needed)

  • A Shot & A Beer: Vaccine Happy Hour at Waterline Brewing (721 Surry Street)
    • Friday, August 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Health and Human Services Health Clinic (1650 Greenfield Street)
    • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Independence Mall (3500 Oleander Drive)
    • Tuesday and Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.