Durham Officials Announce New State of Emergency and Mask Mandate

Durham City and County officials announced over the weekend that in response to the rising cases of COVID-19 largely resulting from the Delta Variant, a State of Emergency is declared within the County of Durham, and, at the request of the Mayor, within the corporate limits of the City of Durham. The latest State of Emergency will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 9th, 2021.

The State of Emergency primarily calls for face coverings to be worn indoors, even among those who are fully vaccinated. Governor Roy Cooper allowed the state’s mask restrictions to end July 30th and urged residents to follow updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines about wearing masks inside.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services along with the CDC have issued guidance calling for all people, to include those are vaccinated, to wear masks in indoor spaces when you are around people you do not live with, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Here is a quick summary of the primary areas of Durham’s State of Emergency which will go into effect Monday at 5 p.m.:

  • Face Coverings must be worn in any indoor public place, business or establishment.
  • 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 under five (5) years of age;
    • 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 a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience. Performers/Presenters/Speakers who have been vaccinated must maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from the audience and for those who are vaccinated and do not face the audience no minimum distance is necessary.
    • Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle;
    • Is temporarily removing their Face Covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes;
    • Would be at risk from wearing a Face Covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
    • Has found that their Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle; or
    • Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the Face Covering safely on the child's face.

The State of Emergency also allows an accommodation for businesses to apply if someone offers an “acceptable exemption” to wearing a face covering. In such cases, a business may offer curbside service, provide home delivery, or use another reasonable measure to deliver goods or services.

For more information and to view the entire State of Emergency Declaration, click here.