Masks to become optional in state agencies starting March 7

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

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RALEIGH – Based on improving trends with COVID-19, masks will become optional in most state agencies and facilities beginning March 7.

Governor Roy Cooper made that announcement this afternoon (Tuesday).

This coincides with updates to guidance from state health officials based on the emerging science and evidence to best protect North Carolinians.

“COVID-19 levels are declining rapidly, and we have vaccinations, boosters, and effective treatments that are making this step possible,” Cooper said. “This virus is still causing serious illness and death mostly in unvaccinated people and the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated and boosted.”

Under Executive Order No. 253 issued today, the Office of State Human Resources has updated policies for face coverings for state government agencies that are part of the Governor’s cabinet. Agency heads may require face coverings in settings that they determine to be high-risk including long term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and health care facilities, and federal regulations continue to require masks in certain facilities.

Requirements remain in place that employees who are not vaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week. Beginning March 7, employees may use at-home rapid antigen tests to meet the testing requirements in addition to PCR tests.