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Mask Abatement Order to be Rescinded February 20 at 5 p.m.; Residents Still Urged to Mask in Areas of High Transmission

Feb 15, 2022

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Cumberland County Public Health Director will rescind the Public Nuisance Mask Abatement Order beginning Feb. 20, 2022 at 5 p.m.

This aligns with the Feb. 21 effective date for North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated quarantine guidance for K-12 schools and childcare centers and allows time for organizations to update and implement their own masking policies and procedures.                                                                                           

Despite rescinding of the formal abatement order, the Cumberland County Department of Public Health still strongly encourages residents to wear a well-fitted mask while in indoor settings.

“The COVID-19 landscape looks different than it did two years ago. We know what works and what stops the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, Cumberland County Public Health Director. “Masks remain an effective strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Despite the recension of this formal order, we continue to recommend masking in public indoor spaces, particularly and in settings with lower vaccination rates.”

The Cumberland County Public Nuisance Mask Abatement Order was implemented on Aug. 27, 2021, during the onset of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.  This required people to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces. Improvements in COVID-19 metrics, increasing availability of testing, vaccinations and boosters and authorized treatment options has prompted this recension.

Masks remain required in all Cumberland County government buildings, including the Cumberland County Department of Public Health and the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. Residents should continue to comply with mask requirements in businesses, healthcare and long-term facilities, educational settings, and other institutions as appropriate.

Public and non-public schools and childcare facilities are required comply with masking control measures after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as outlined in the NC DHHS Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit and the NC DHHS ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit, respectively.

The CDC Order requires face masks to be worn by all people at indoor transportation hubs and while on public transportation, including school buses and vans, remains in place.

The COVID-19 infection positivity rate peaked in North Carolina at 36.3% on Jan. 22 and has decreased to 14.4% as of Feb. 15.  Cumberland County’s positivity rate has decreased from 37.8% on Jan. 31, to 25.5% on Feb. 15. It continues to decline.

Free COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, which reduce the risk of severe hospitalizations and death, are available to those ages 5 and older at the Cumberland County Department of Public Health. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Cape Fear Valley Health System’s hospitals within Cumberland County has decreased from 172 on Jan. 31 to 106 as of Feb. 15.

Please visit cumberlandcountync.gov/publichealth for more information about the Cumberland County Department of Public Health.