CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A new mask mandate requiring businesses to enforce mask-wearing indoors begins in Charlotte at 5 p.m. Wednesday as the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners decides whether to extend the rule to the rest of the county.

“The numbers have risen high enough, fast enough that we felt we had to get the community’s attention by putting in a mandate,” said Health Director Gibbie Harris at a news conference Monday.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said Monday that the Queen City would institute the mandate beginning August 18 to bridge the gap between Wednesday and when a county-wide mandate could go into effect.

“It is not an overstatement to say that getting a vaccine and wearing a mask is a matter of life and death,” the mayor said. “Unless we do better on getting shots in arms, this won’t be the last time we have to mandate masks or other measures.”

Starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, face coverings must “be worn in any indoor public place, business, or establishment within the City of Charlotte and the unincorporated parts of Mecklenburg County, regardless of vaccination status,” the proclamation said.

County health officials said these are the exceptions to the mandate:

  • Should not wear a Face Covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (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 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 their Face Coverings at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines; 
  • Has found their Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle.  

If board members vote to extend the mandate to the rest of the county, the earliest it would go into effect is next Wednesday, August 25.

County Commissioners are set to meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday at a special meeting to decide on the mask mandate.

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