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When exactly will Charlotte’s mask mandate take effect?

The recommendation for the mask mandate was made during a secret Policy Group meeting.
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Less than a day before Mecklenburg County leaders indicated a mask mandate would be instituted in Charlotte and unincorporated areas of the county, a document describing the mandate has still not been made public.

There is also no indication of when the mask mandate will take effect.

Sources who spoke with WBTV said that county and city leaders are working on the document Tuesday and it is still expected to be made public Wednesday.

On Monday, County Manager Dena Diorio indicated that Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman George Dunlap would sign a joint proclamation to institute a mask mandate in Charlotte before county commissioners approve a countywide mask mandate as part of a new health policy rule.

Neither document has been made public. County commissioners meet Wednesday at 3 p.m. to vote on a countywide mask mandate.

If approved, it would take effect 10 days later, on Friday, Aug. 27. It would include all six towns in Mecklenburg County, regardless of whether the town boards are in favor of it, requiring masks for indoor locations.

The recommendation for both mask mandates was made during a secret Policy Group meeting. Monday’s Policy Group meeting continued in private despite WBTV and 12 other Charlotte media outlets sending a letter, demanding public access to that meeting.

WBTV has previously reported on the Policy Group, a cohort of unelected leaders representing the towns, county, city and other government offices across Mecklenburg County.

The group has been meeting behind closed doors almost since the start of the pandemic, when the State of Emergency was enacted in March 2020.

Wike Graham from Emergency Management says the policy group recommends this mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19. Graham says it’s largely due to the steep rate at which COVID-19 cases are climbing in the community.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says the county remains in the red regarding COVID-19 community spread. She says information shows significant transmission of COVID-19 in the community and an 87 percent increase over two weeks.

Diorio said that no other restrictions are being considered at this time and the best tool in their kit this time around is the vaccine.

However, Diorio said there was no discussion within the Policy Group of requiring businesses to check for proof of vaccination in order for customers to enter.

Public health leaders say there is a possibility for civil fines if the mandate is not followed. Guilford County implemented a similar measure last week.

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