RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County, along with five municipalities, now has a mask mandate in effect. The mandate began Friday at 7 a.m.

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria signed an emergency declaration Wednesday afternoon to put the mandate in place.

Under Wake County’s State of Emergency, the mask mandate requires people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering when they’re inside public places such as grocery stores, restaurants and retail shops.

The mandate applies to the unincorporated areas of Wake County, as well as the towns of Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon.

“I think everybody needs to have on masks at this point because we need to protect our children and our elderly,” said Shea Holmes-Murphy of Apex. “I have both in our household, so right now, I think everybody needs to mask up.”

The mayors or town councils in each of those municipalities indicated ahead of time that they would sign on to the county’s declaration.

“Well, honestly, I didn’t know they were optional. I thought Wake County, I thought it was all of Wake County. So that’s kind of confusing,” said Judy Oakley of Apex.

The City of Raleigh and the Town of Cary already had mask mandates in place. Raleigh’s went into effect on Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. and Cary’s began on Wednesday.

A total of 83 percent of the county is now covered by mask mandates. Apex, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Wendell and Fuquay-Varina are not participating in the countywide mandate. These five municipalities have made masks optional.

“It should be across the board. The virus doesn’t know that there’s a boundary right there, it doesn’t know,” said Travis Warburt of Garner.

“The virus is surging through our community, and it’s our responsibility to take appropriate steps to protect public health and safety,” said Calabria. “Science shows wearing a mask reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19, making it one of our greatest weapons in the fight against this harmful virus. Prompt action now will prevent the need for further restrictions and enable us to beat the virus more quickly.”

In addition to wearing masks, Wake County Public Health strongly encourages residents to get vaccinated.

The Wake County mask mandate is effect until Nov. 1 at 7 a.m. unless the emergency declaration is rescinded before.