North Carolina County Threatens ‘Leveraged Civil Penalties’ for Failure to Comply with Mask Mandate

A sign reminds customers to wear their masks at a bakery in Lake Oswego, Ore., on Friday, May 21, 2021. As the federal government and many states ease rules around mask-wearing and business occupancy, some blue states like Oregon and Washington are still holding on to some longtime coronavirus restrictions. …
AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus

North Carolina’s Guilford County is threatening “leveraged civil penalties” for failure to comply with the reinstituted mask mandate, it announced in a press release on Thursday.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted to reinstitute a mask mandate, which went into effect that afternoon. The mandate applies to “all persons throughout Guilford County, regardless of their vaccination status.” Those who do not could face “leveraged civil penalties,” the press release warned.

“Pursuant to the Guilford County Board of Health rule, individuals must wear face coverings when indoors in all business, establishments and public places. Failure to comply with this re-instated mask rule could result in leveraged civil penalties,” it reads:

County residents and businesses are encouraged to follow all directives and recommendations set forth by the Guilford County Board of Health, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the Guilford County Department of Public Health in order to slow the spread of the virus and help reduce the county’s rapidly rising rates of infection.

“This Board of Health rule is necessary to safeguard our residents, visitors, and local businesses as well as protect our local health partners and county Emergency Management resources,” Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Melvin ‘Skip’ Alston, said, adding:

While no one can clearly predict how this situation will continue to evolve, what we do know for sure is that the continued exponential increase in COVID-19 positives is unacceptable and we must act now to mitigate its effect; we simply cannot stand idly by while our residents continue to die.

Alston continued, suggesting that masks could save lives. However, he made no mention of the fact that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering altering its mask guidance to recommend N95s and KN95s, as numerous studies show that typical cloth and surgical masks do not effectively block aerosols. What is more, blue areas that have had mask mandates in place continue to experience spikes of the virus.

“Regardless of your vaccination status, we know that wearing masks helps prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and we know it saves lives,” he added.

“County officials will begin communication efforts to share the newly adopted rules and educate the public on the new masking requirements immediately,” the press release added.

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