Message to the College on Coronavirus: Governor Cooper announced new face covering requirements

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced a new set of face covering requirements today, calling them the state’s “best weapon” against a “dire” spread of COVID-19.

He said the state now has 20 counties considered “red,” where “critical spread” is occurring, under the state’s coronavirus alert system — double what it was when the color-coded alerts were introduced just last week.

Governor Cooper said his new executive order requires wearing a mask at home when friends are over as well as all public settings, including when at work, the gym, stores, and schools. The order also adds to business’ role in making sure customers wear masks inside stores and keep six feet apart. The new executive order goes into effect at 5 p.m., on Nov. 25, and runs through at least Dec. 11.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and the state is under Phase 3 of reopening and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people unless they are part of the same household. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 persons, however; face coverings must be worn outdoors if persons do not keep at least six feet from non-­household members.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly advised people to stay home for the holiday. North Carolina does not have travel restrictions.

Governor Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, also urge people to celebrate Thanksgiving with safety precautions, including small groups, eating outside, social distancing of at least six feet with people outside your household, washing hands frequently and wearing a mask.

Last week, NCDHHS unveiled a new alert system that shows different color-coded levels of yellow, orange, and red to represent COVID-19 hotspots by county. The levels include different suggestions for how the counties can curb the spread of COVID-19. Read more about the new system in this Charlotte Observer article​. Mecklenburg County currently is coded yellow, which indicates “significant” spread. However, counties surrounding Mecklenburg are shown as orange (substantial spread) and red (critical spread).