CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Recent changes in some COVID-19 mandates once again mean mask requirements that change from one place in the Triangle to another.

Wake County, including the city of Raleigh, eased requirements for masking in indoor, public spaces starting Friday – the rules that had been in place dating back to last summer.

However, the rules remain in place in Orange and Durham counties.

Earlier this month, Durham County health officials announced their rules would remain in place for a few additional weeks.

Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal said at a city council meeting Feb. 21, to “take note” of March 7, when changes could potentially happen, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Likewise, in guidance this past week, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger pointed to a continued need in Orange County to “ease pressure on UNC Hospitals,” with COVID numbers still not at the point county health officials would like to see to ease masking rules.

Still, Hemminger said that could potentially change “soon.”

That some localities are without masking rules while the restrictions remain in place in other areas –- including Durham –- was of concern to Durham City Councilmember Leonardo Williams.

“The science is evolving and I think we should too,” he told CBS17’s Sean Cudahy in an interview last week, expressing concern that businesses in some parts of the region would be able to capitalize on more lenient COVID-19 restrictions.

“They’re actually marketing the fact that, ‘You’re welcome here, no masks, etc.,” Williams said.



Silvia Gallo, co-owner of recently-opened Killer Queen Wine Bar in Durham said, after four-plus months in business, she would “love to be able to see people’s faces.”

She recently emailed O’Neal, asking when changes in masking policies may happen. Gallo hopes her customers soon will not have to wear a mask even when walking around her business.

“If you want to go sit down, have a glass of wine, head to the restroom, I don’t think you should have to wear (a mask) anymore,” Gallo said.