GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The Guilford County Board of Commissioners met as the Board of Health on Thursday and reinstated a mask mandate across the county as North Carolina continues to see records numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The Board of Health voted 6-3 to pass the mask mandate. Board members will meet again in February to review the mandate.
The approved mandate took effect at 6:30 p.m. for Guilford County residents, regardless of their vaccination status, and businesses. People must wear face coverings when indoors in all businesses, establishments and public places.
A Guilford County Government news release says failure to comply with the mandate could result in penalties.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan released the following statement:
“I hope that people will respect the Guilford County Health Boards decision and will cooperate with businesses and their employees who are responsible for enforcing this mandate. I encourage people to get vaccinated as they reduce transmission and severity of symptoms if you become infected.”
A new round of mask mandates swept across some parts of Guilford County last week, but mayors had to sign on for the earlier mandates to take effect.
The mayors of Gibsonville, Sedalia, Pleasant Garden and Jamestown signed on last week, reinforcing the mandate.
“We must take immediate efforts to address the rise in the number of COVID-19 positive rates due to the omicron variant,” said Chairman Skip Alston.
Alston told FOX8 one way of dealing with COVID-19 includes the return of the mask mandate.
He said with a percent positive six times higher than where health experts want us to be, the county is in a state of emergency as the omicron variant overwhelms hospital workers.
“They are the ones who are caring for the sick. They are the ones who are having to put their patients in the morgue after they die,” Alston said. “They are the ones who have to tend to the patients in the hallways, not in a hospital room.”
Guilford County Schools also voted on Tuesday to keep their mask mandates for students and staff.
Guilford County board members enacted the policy in July and originally planned to reevaluate it every 10 weeks or once per academic quarter.
The law, which was passed in August, requires that school districts vote monthly on whether the policy should be modified.
GCS adopted an official policy in September.
The GSC school board will reconsider the matter at its next meeting.