The Sylva Herald

Last Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would remain in Phase II of his re-opening plan. His office later released these guidelines for halting the spread of COVID-19.

Guidance for citizens

People must wear face coverings when in public places, indoor or outdoor, where physical distancing of 6 feet from other people who are not members of the same household or residence is not possible. These settings include, but are not limited to.

• Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space, including public schools.

• Waiting for or riding on public and private multi-person transportation, including but not limited to buses, taxis, ride sharing, private care service, vans.

• Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when they are or may be within 6 feet of other people, including working in or walking through common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities.

• Obtaining services in a healthcare setting.

• While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

This restriction does not apply to persons while inside their residence or the personal residence of another. Face coverings may be removed to participate in a religious ritual.

Guidance for businesses

Certain businesses are required to have patrons and employees wear face coverings whether they are inside or outside when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person, or unless an exception applies. Specific occupational settings, including health care settings, should continue to follow existing protocols and require surgical or procedure masks or N95 respirators, as indicated.

These businesses must follow the requirements for face coverings as described in Executive Order 147, to the extent they are open:

• Retail businesses.

• Restaurants.

• Personal care, grooming, and tattoo businesses.

• Child care facilities, day camps, and overnight camps.

• Gyms, exercise and fitness facilities,

• State government cabinet agencies.

• Transportation.

• High-density occupational settings where social distancing is difficult, including manufacturing settings, construction sites, and migrant farm or other farm settings.

• Meat or poultry processing plants (new surgical mask requirement).

• Long-term care facilities (new surgical mask requirement).

• Other health care settings.


Face coverings do not need to be worn by an individual, worker, customer or patron who:

• Has a medical or behavioral condition or disability and cannot wear a face covering (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance).

• Is under 11 years of age.

• Is actively eating or drinking.

• Is strenuously exercising or swimming.

• Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible.

• Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience.

• Is working at home or alone in a vehicle.

• Is temporarily removing his or her face covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes.

• Would be at risk from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

• Has found that a face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle.

• Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the face covering safely on the child’s face.

• Children under 2 years of age should not wear a face covering.