GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to rescind the countywide mask mandate on Monday night and allow more freedom for people who are vaccinated to go mask-free indoors.
But the vote is not all-encompassing and does not include any jurisdiction outside of Guilford County.
You may still need to wear a mask in certain businesses or while visiting schools or county facilities.
A release by the county noted that “federal or other local rules may still apply to masking at various locations. Businesses continue to have the authority to implement voluntary guidance regarding their own operations and they can restrict service to customers who choose not to abide by reasonable and lawful safety restrictions such as wearing a mask and other COVID-19 precautions.”
Guilford County employees and visitors to county facilities – such as the courthouses and various offices – must wear masks indoors.
School districts operate independently of the county in this regard, and any change in school policy would be approved by a local school board.
Guilford County officials reminded the public that federal mask mandates require masking in all federal transportation, such as buses, trains, and airports, and for most medical facilities.
Most jurisdictions across the region appear to follow state guidelines, which is to track the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that anyone unvaccinated should wear a mask indoors. Their websites include such information, including graphics to show mask requirements.
A recent check does show that a few jurisdictions – in Davie County Schools, Randolph County Schools, Rockingham County government, Surry County Schools, and Wilkes County Schools – have optional mask requirements.
The CDC rates all counties in the region under the High threat of community spread, although Guilford County has a positivity rate of 4.11% positivity for the past seven days, below the threshold of 5% mark at which the CDC considers community spread to be under control. Guilford County also has seen its number of new cases decline by about 7.5% in the past seven days.
But most other counties are higher than 5% positivity. In Surry County Schools, there is a mask mandate for students in middle school and high school if the community positivity is higher than 5% (it is 8.54% today), and elementary schools could relax that mandate in December.
Stokes County Schools voted on Monday night to go optional on masks. Wilkes County Schools went from an optional requirement to requiring masks indoors but not outdoors. Yadkin County went from optional to required for masks. Davidson County Schools officials have said they will review t mandate in the next 30 days.
School districts that have mask mandates
Alamance/Burlington, Alleghany, Asheboro City, Caswell County, Davidson County, Guilford County, Lexington City, Montgomery County, Mount Airy, Rockingham County, Thomasville City, Winston-Salem/Forsyth, and Yadkin County.
Other local governments
Rockingham County is the only government body in the region known to have an optional approach to masks. The “mask guidance” page on the county’s website is blank.