“This is a call to arms to the people of North Carolina – we have to pull together to stem the tide,” Cooper said.
Rather than reimposing restrictions that have been eased in recent months, he decided to close loopholes in the statewide mask mandate that he put in place over the summer.
Now, masks must be worn indoors whenever someone not in the same household is present and outdoors whenever physical distancing isn’t possible. The tighter restrictions include requiring masks in private schools and in gyms, even when people are working out, as well as in airports and train and bus stations.
Large businesses must have someone checking that customers are wearing masks and that capacity limits are followed, and law enforcement can cite individuals or businesses for not complying.
“We need counties to work with us to enforce safety rules,” Cooper said. “We know we have the key to stemming the tide – that is enforcing the safeguards that are already in place.”