City of Kinston mandates face masks


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Leaders in the east are taking measures into their own hands as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Kinston is taking a big step, requiring people to wear face masks in public.

“It’s not trying to make people do something, or government overreach or violate constitutional rights,” says Don Hardy, Kinston’s Mayor. 

Under the new requirement, everyone within Kinston city limits is required to wear a clean face covering.

The measure is meant to protect people with underlying health conditions.

Hardy is tracking rising case numbers and what’s contributing to them.

Hardy says, “folks are starting to get too relaxed at the moment to the point where they’re being reckless in their actions and not caring about the folks that are around us.

People in Kinston are noticing that, too.

“A lot of people just stopped wearing face masks because the whole thing just started dying down, and people stopped caring about it,” explains Luis Ovandon Jimenz.

Many people don’t feel the need to wear masks, but there are those who welcome the new requirement.

Timothy Garner says, “It makes me feel safe. The mayor can tell us to wear them but it’s up to the individual. The mayor I commend him for mandating it and everything like that.”

Mayor Don hardy thanks people in this community for working with officials in taking this step to stop the spread.


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) Kinston now requires people to wear face masks within city limits.

An emergency proclamation was signed into effect on Sunday by Mayor Don Hardy to help curb the further spread of the coronavirus.

The new requirement states that all persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Kinston are required to wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance or who are recommended social distancing practice are not being followed.

These spaces include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, parking lots, sidewalks, and public transit.

While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance insofar as possible since social distancing is the best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Acceptable, reusable face covering options for the general public include bandanas, neck gaiters, homemade face coverings, scarves, or tightly woven fabric such as cotton t-shirts and some types of towels.

It is not required to wear face coverings during individual exercise outdoors, or while walking or exercising with other people from the same household, as long as social distance from others is maintained.

All restaurant, personal care, grooming, tattoo, and retail employees shall wear a face covering while on duty. It is recommended that all businesses require customers to wear a face mask while inside the business.

Face coverings are not required:

  • For people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering
  • For those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition
  • For children under 12 years old
  • For restaurant patrons while they are dining
  • In private, individual offices
  • When complying with direction of law enforcement officers
  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming
  • While with members of a family of the same household

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