Indoor mask mandate begins in Charlotte, countywide mandate approved for all remaining towns in Mecklenburg

This requirement applies to all individuals who are at least five years of age.
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:21 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -The City of Charlotte’s mask mandate is now in effect, requiring masks to be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status against COVID-19.

The proclamation mandates that Face Coverings be worn in any indoor public place, business, or establishment within the City of Charlotte and the unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County.

The proclamation will be in effect through Sept. 1, 2021 unless sooner rescinded or terminated. This requirement applies to all individuals who are at least five years of age.

[When exactly will Charlotte’s mask mandate take effect?]

On Wednesday evening, the Mecklenburg County Board of Health passed a countywide mask mandate that starts in 10 days. The Public Health rule for the county passed on a 6-2 vote.

That rule will apply to the entire county, including the six towns.

Commissioners Scarborough and Cotham voted against it. Cotham cited concerns over the six towns, which have their own governments, being ‘forced’ into the mandate.

The Board of County Commissioners issued that Public Health Rule, agreeing that prompt action is necessary at this time by all people.

Currently, in Mecklenburg County, 50 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. There is no currently approved vaccine for children under the age of 12. Mecklenburg County urges everyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We need to slow the viral transmission and community spread as much as possible,” said Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. “Face coverings slow the spread.”

“We know vaccines are best. But there are people who can’t get vaccinated,” said Board Chair George Dunlap, “Let’s protect all children under 12 years old and our most vulnerable in our County.”

“If we act now, we can avoid more restrictions in the future,” said County Manager Dena R. Diorio.

This Public Health Rule goes into effect in 10 days, August 28, 2021. This is in addition to the ‘interim’ action taken by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s proclamation.

[Mecklenburg health leaders recommend indoor mask mandate, Charlotte to adopt as early as Wednesday]

There are exceptions to the face-covering mandate. Face coverings do not need to be worn by someone who:

  • 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);
  • Is actively eating or drinking;
  • Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
  • 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 (the audience is still required to wear a Face Covering if indoors);
  • Is temporarily removing their face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
  • Has found their face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle.

Anyone who declines to wear a face covering for any of these exemptions will not be required to produce documentation or any other proof of a condition.

Everyone is asked to tell the truth – and if they are healthy and able to wear a face covering – to wear one so that they do not put other people at risk of serious illness and death.

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County continues to urge everyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to reduce infection rates and not require additional restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am indoors but am socially distanced or not close to others, do I still have to wear a mask?

Yes. If you are in a public indoor space, you are required to wear a mask regardless of social distancing and/or your vaccination status.

If I own a business, do I have to require customers to wear a mask?

Yes. You must require customers who do not fit in to one of the exemptions to wear a mask while at your establishment.

As a business owner, what should I do if I have customers who refuse to comply AND refuse to leave the premises?

Call 911 to request Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to respond for trespassing.

How long will this mask mandate be in effect?

This mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday and will remain in effect until at least Sept. 1, 2021. The Public Health Rule that will be voted on today will go into effect in 10 days, if passed. Both mandates are based on the current COVID-19 metrics and the duration of the Public Health Rule will be dependent on the metrics improving.

If I live in one of the towns in Mecklenburg County, do I have to follow the current mask mandate?

If the mask mandate is not in effect in your town, you are not required to wear a mask indoors at public places in that town. However, if you travel into the City of Charlotte or an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County, you will need to have a mask if you plan to visit a public indoor space.

Do I have to wear mask at Panthers games?

The Carolina Panthers have issued protocols at Bank of America requiring that all guests and staff must wear a mask in indoor spaces, including the indoor concourses on the 300 and 400 levels. Face coverings are not required outdoors. Masks will be available at stadium entrance points as well as at guest relations and security booths. Guests who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in all areas.

I’m unvaccinated – should I still consider getting the vaccine?

Yes. The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County urge all eligible people who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid further restrictions.

Who should I call for questions about the mask mandate?

You can direct further questions to the Mecklenburg County Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 980-314-9400. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the mask mandate, the vaccine and COVID-19, please visit

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