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Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday North Carolina is lifting statewide mask mandate, gathering limits, and social distancing requirements, effective immediately.

A major step toward returning to normalcy for some North Carolinians as the CDC provided updated guidance on easing mask requirements yesterday. This means most places will no longer require people to be socially distant or wear a mask.

Cooper referenced the need for the state to remain safe, but still move forward as more people become fully vaccinated. “We can take this step today because the science shows our focus on getting people vaccinated is working,” Cooper said. “But to keep moving forward – and to make sure that we keep saving lives – more people need to get vaccinated.”

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In accordance with the new CDC guidance, there will still be certain settings where masks are still required. Child care facilities, summer camps, schools and some church group activities, where children are not eligible to be vaccinated, will still fall under the mask mandate guidelines.

Everyone will still be required to wear a mask in places such as public transportation, prisons, homeless shelters, and health care facilities.

However, some businesses may require patrons to wear masks such as carry out services at restaurants, retail stores, shopping malls and grocery stores. Other establishments may also keep their rules in place regardless of the CDC recommendations. Any enforcement of a store policy could lead to push back by those not wanting to abide, as we witnessed in the early days of the pandemic.

“The ability to lift restrictions sooner than anticipated following the CDC’s guidance shows the importance of vaccinating all North Carolinians,” according to a press release from Gov. Cooper’s office.

North Carolina health officials say over 7.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. 51% percent of those 16 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 46% percent are considered to be fully vaccinated.

“I am so proud of the incredible progress we have made in beating back this pandemic,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Vaccines continue to be incredibly effective at protecting individuals from this terrible virus. And as more and more people get vaccinated, the results show in our stable metrics with lower cases, lower hospitalizations, and lower deaths.”

For more information on vaccine distribution, visit or




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