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Boone residents, tourists weigh in on upcoming indoor mask requirement

Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 10:28 AM EDT
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BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Town of Boone will require face masks in public indoor spaces after declaring a State of Emergency Friday evening.

Boone leaders say this requirement and state of emergency comes after the Delta variant began spreading and reports of a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases.

The declaration states that customers, employees, and anyone else inside must wear a mask or face covering while indoors any establishment open to the public and in an area that is open to the general public.

While wearing the mask, officials say a social distance of six feet should be maintained, if possible.

Appalachian State junior Reagan Tate says she’s enjoyed what felt like a few weeks of normalcy but realizes the upcoming mask mandate is for her safety.

“That disappointment comes from being maskless for a few weeks now and being vaccinated but if it slows the spread I am more than happy to help,” Tate said.

The town’s state of emergency closely follows updated CDC guidelines encouraging everyone even if they are fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors if they’re in an area with the high or substantial transmission of COVID-19.

Grayson Wickel just moved to Boone, and while he’s fully vaccinated, he’s still wearing his mask.

He thinks the mandate is the right move to keep COVID-19 cases down.

“I’m looking at it mainly from a public health standpoint where everybody if we all get on board it’s less of a time that we can kind of stomp through this and get it over with, altogether one mask at a time,” Wickel said.

Pat Moritz works at Hands Gallery where they’ve already got signs up requiring masks inside their store in accordance with the town’s state of emergency.

Moritz agrees the mandate is needed.

“Of course these last two weeks have been a little bit more normal but now as all the vaccination rates are going up the cases are going up too. We’re going back to doing the masks even if you’ve been vaccinated, indoors,” Moritz said.

Hands Gallery is still doing daily disinfecting, providing hand sanitizer, encouraging social distancing, and will even have extra disposable masks for customers.

“We’re going to keep doing as much as we possibly can to keep everybody safe,” Moritz said.

While some tourists were only dropping in for the weekend - they believe making masks mandatory indoors is the right thing to do.

“I feel like you should still wear your masks regardless if you’re vaccinated or not. I mean you could still be carrying the virus, so you should keep it on to keep others safe,” said LeKesha Gallant who was visiting Boone.

The masking requirement has a few exceptions as it does not apply to people who cannot wear the mask due to a medical or behavioral condition, children under the age of 2, a customer eating at a restaurant while they are at their table or a person who is complying with directions issued by a law enforcement officer.

This requirement goes into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. and shall remain in effect until further notice.

The penalty for violating this mask requirement constitutes a class 2 misdemeanor.

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