Durham mayor addresses new mask mandate in city, county

Durham County News

UPDATE: Durham mayor: New mask mandate needed to keep economy open

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Residents will soon learn more about the Durham city and county indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said he will be holding a news conference at 11 a.m. Monday to discuss the mandate.

Starting at 5 p.m. Monday masks will be required indoors at all public places in Durham city and county regardless of someone’s vaccination status. Masks are already required at several other places in Durham including city buildings and Durham Public Schools.

The mandate is part of a state of emergency announced by the city and the county.

Brenda Howerton, the chair of Durham County’s Board of Commissioners, said with the increase in COVID-19 cases they want to prevent things from getting worse. She said the county won’t actively enforce the mandate.

“There’s no enforcement, I mean enforcement would involve the law, our officers, and law enforcement we’re not doing that,” she said. “We’re asking people on their own to think about their safety, the safety of their loved ones.”

Savannah Angel of Apex is in Durham often. She said while wearing masks again will be an adjustment, she trusts the CDC’s guidance recommending indoor masking in high COVID-19 transmission areas.

“It’s very inconvenient. Obviously, no one really likes wearing a mask,” she said. “I’m a teacher — having to wear it all day long, it’s uncomfortable, but if it comes down to people’s safety I think that’s what really matters.”

Masks won’t be required for those under 5 years old and can be removed for eating and drinking. There are several other exceptions in the rules.

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