New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board votes 5-5 over reinstating mask mandate

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board met Tuesday morning to discuss whether to reinstate the county’s face covering policy for indoor places.

During the two-hour meeting, the Board evaluated current COVID-19 metrics and trends, data compared to last year’s numbers, and other statistical analysis pertaining to the ongoing pandemic.

A number of people participated in the public hearing portion of the meeting offering reasons for and against reinstating the face covering policy.

Health Board member and County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield made a motion not to reinstate a mask mandate.

Board members then voted 5-5 with half voting in favor of reinstating a mask mandate and the other half voting against.

With the split vote, no mask mandate is in place in New Hanover County.

Jonathan Barfield was one of the board members to vote against bringing back the mask mandate.

“Enforcing something where many are going to protest to not do, and then putting a burden on stores and restaurants to enforce that, is really a challenge for them,” Barfield said. “It’s easy to sit here and make that decision and say ‘we want you to do this’. But then on the other end, again those employees that are facing harassment from folks that are coming in, it’s really a challenge for them.”

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