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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Charlotte Joins Mecklenburg County In Requiring Masks For All In Government Buildings

Diedra Laird / The Charlotte Observer

The city of Charlotte will require masks in city government buildings starting Friday — whether people have been vaccinated or not.

The city said in a news release Thursday that the new mask requirement applies to anyone inside Charlotte’s government buildings: employees, contractors, members of the media and members of the public. Mecklenburg County made masks mandatory inside county buildings on Aug. 3. County Manager Dena Diroio said in an emailed memo at the time that the measure was enacted “due to the county’s high rates of COVID-19 transmission.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center is still closed to the public, aside from meetings of the Charlotte City Council, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

Diorio also announced last week that Mecklenburg County would begin checking employee’s vaccination status on Sept. 1. Anyone who is not vaccinated will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and present a negative result to human resources starting Sept. 7.

The county manager cited an order issued in late July by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper mandating all employees working for the state’s cabinet-level agencies to show proof of vaccination. Cooper said that those who are unvaccinated will have to wear masks, social distance at work and undergo weekly screening tests.

Cooper’s order covers about 50,000 state employees but does not extend to teachers and other school-based state workers. During his news conference announcing the order, Cooper urged local agencies and private businesses to make similar moves.

Both Cooper’s and Diorio’s new policies virtually mirror President Joe Biden’s requirements for federal employees which were also announced in July.

Meanwhile, Mecklenburg County’s public health department has said it will require all of its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency has said all of its roughly 900 full-time, part-time and temporary employees must show proof of vaccination by Sept. 7.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.