FAQs for the Public
Why are face coverings required right now?
Simply put, to prevent severe illness and hospitalizations and to save lives.
New COVID-19 cases, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospitalizations in Cumberland County have risen drastically in recent weeks due to the Delta variant, threatening the health and safety of our entire community. To turn this alarming trend around, we must act collectively to protect each other. In areas with high transmission, including Cumberland County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others.
When local hospitals and emergency rooms are close to capacity with COVID-19 patients, like what we are seeing in Cumberland County , it impacts more than just those with the virus. This stress on our healthcare system has a ripple effect on other life-saving medical procedures, surgeries, and practices.
We’ve used these protective measures before with the 3 Ws – wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing our hands – except this time we have a readily available safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to add to our toolkit.
By wearing a mask when indoors in public and layering that with protection built from COVID-19 vaccines, we can collectively help protect those that cannot be vaccinated yet or are most at risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19. To find a vaccine site near you, visit NCDHHS Your Spot, Your Shot.
Where are face coverings required under the order?
Face coverings are required in all indoor public places throughout the county, including but not limited to offices and workplaces, business establishments, private clubs attended by members, public transportation facilities and vehicles, stores for the sale of any goods, restaurants, bars, places for amusement or entertainment, gyms and places for exercise, schools, places of worship, or any place the public is invited or allowed to assemble.
This order applies to all of Cumberland County, NC, which includes the unincorporated areas of the county, the City of Fayetteville, and Towns of Spring Lake, Wade, Stedman, Hope Mills, Vander, Linden, Eastover, Godwin and Falcon.
Who is required to wear a face covering?
The face covering requirement is in place for all residents and visitors ages 2 and over, regardless of vaccination status, when in any indoor public space. This order is directly in line with CDC recommendations for ages and exemptions. Face coverings shall not be required by someone who:
(1) 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);
(2) Is under five (5) years of age and a parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face covering safely on the child's face.
(3) Is in a private, individual office.
(4) Is actively eating or drinking;
(5) Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
(6) Is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast, or to an audience, where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience;
(7) Is not in an indoor public space as described in this Order;
(8) Is temporarily removing their face covering for identification purposes to secure government or medical services or at the request of a law enforcement officer;
(9) Would be at risk of injury from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
(10) Is participating in worship activities for which wearing a face covering hinders the participation;
(11) Children under two (2) years of age should not wear a face covering.
If I’m vaccinated, why do I have to wear a mask?
The face covering requirement is in place for all residents and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to protect everyone in our community from the rapid spread of COVID-19.
With high levels of viral spread in our community, as defined by the CDC, everyone is required to wear a mask when indoors until more people are vaccinated to protect each other from severe illness from COVID-19. The Delta variant is surging and spreads about twice as easily from one person to another than previous strains of the virus. At this time, as we build the level of vaccination Cumberland County, we must also use layers of prevention strategies available, including masking indoors in public places, to slow transmission.
Fully vaccinated individuals have a strong layer of protection built from the COVID-19 vaccine, but no vaccine gives 100% protection. When all of us do our part, by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated, we increase protection to those most vulnerable in our community.
What’s the difference between the order of abatement and the health rule?
A local health director may issue an order of abatement when an imminent hazard exists and may include actions necessary to stop or protect others from the imminent hazard. An imminent hazard refers to situations in which there is an immediate threat to human life or an immediate threat of serious adverse health effects. In this case, the rapid spread of COVID-19 resulting in a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, was deemed as a public health hazard and the indoor face covering requirement is the action taken to stop the imminent hazard. An order of abatement is authorized under North Carolina General Statute Chapter 130A-20, and 130A-41.
Is this order legal?
Yes. An order of abatement is authorized under North Carolina General Statute Chapter 130A-19, 130A-20, and 130A-41.
Do I have to wear a face covering outdoors?
Face coverings are not required by the order when outdoors but are recommended when you around other people that do not live in your household, and especially in crowded spaces and when around those that are unvaccinated.
How do I file a complaint on a business that is not following the abatement order?
Please visit Face Covering Non Compliance Complaint Form to file a complaint against a business that is not following the abatement order.
My child attends a Private School, are they exempt from masking?
No. The rule applies to “indoor spaces to which the public is invited to, allowed to, or does, congregate or assemble for any purpose, to include offices and workplaces, business establishments”. Private schools fall under the provisions of the abatement order.