As of last Friday at 5pm, a new state order required people to wear face coverings in public areas. That got people asking what could happen to them if they didn’t wear a mask or can a business force you to wear one if you were inside their establishment. We have answers for you.

At least 15 NC sheriff’s offices have said they would not enforce the mandate. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department won’t be enforcing individual use of face masks, Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said Friday.

If a person isn’t wearing their mask, the rules can be explained to them by law enforcement, but it’s up to each individual police department on how they handle the order; however, police are not allowed to arrest or fine any individuals who do not comply with the order. If a person is asked to leave a business because they refuse to wear a mask, the order does allow police to enforce trespassing laws, an order that many departments say they will enforce.

Face coverings are not required:

  • For those who cannot wear a 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 directions 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 or the same household
  • For people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering
  • For those exercising outdoors or exercising with other people from the same household, as long as social distance is maintained

The mandate is the latest action taken by the Governor to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus.