Friday, 14 May 2021 17:15

Cooper mostly lifts mask madate, social distance requirements for the vaccinated

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Gov. Roy Cooper announces the lifting of the statewide mask mandate in most situations on Friday. Gov. Roy Cooper announces the lifting of the statewide mask mandate in most situations on Friday. Governor's office

ROCKINGHAM — Fresh off the heels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest COVID-19 guidelines, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that he would lift the months-long mask mandate — for residents who are fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, the CDC recommended that those who are vaccinated need no longer wear a mask or socially distance, but added that the guidance didn’t overrule local, state or tribal government regulations.

That’s where Cooper’s latest executive order comes in.

While vaccinated individuals can go maskless in most places, workers and riders of public transportation must still wear masks, and at the time of the order, which went into effect at 1:30 p.m. Friday, students are also still required to mask up. Those working at correctional facilities are also still required to wear masks.

Coopers latest executive order (attached below) also lifts capacity restrictions on most business operations. However, the governor recommends those attending sporting events of more than 5,000 spectators wear masks.

“We can take this step today because the science shows our focus on getting people vaccinated is working,” said Governor Cooper. “But to keep moving forward – and to make sure that we keep saving lives – more people need to get vaccinated.”

According to records with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, 36.2% of the state’s entire population is vaccinated. The CDC recently recommended that teens aged 12-15 could receive the Pfizer vaccine.

In Richmond County, 12,742 residents are partially vaccinated and 11,841 are fully vaccinated, according to DHHS.

The Richmond County Health Department earlier this week posted a graphic showing a vaccination goal of 80%.

“I am so proud of the incredible progress we have made in beating back this pandemic,” said Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen “Vaccines continue to be incredibly effective at protecting individuals from this terrible virus. And as more and more people get vaccinated, the results show in our stable metrics with lower cases, lower hospitalizations, and lower deaths.” 

According to the governor's office: "People who are not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor public settings and in outdoor settings when they can't maintain six feet of distance."

The CDC on Thursday produced an info-graphic outlining activities it deemed safe or hazardous for vaccinated and unvaccinated.


The Health Department’s daily update on Friday reported that there were 11 new cases of COVID-19. There are currently 51 active cases, with four residents hospitalized.

There are several upcoming community clinics with no appointment necessary for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines:

  • May 17 - Memorial Park Gym, Hamlet 2-5 p.m.
  • May 24 - Freedom Baptist Church, Rockingham, 2-5 p.m.

For adults, vaccinations are available Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 8-11 a.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Health Department — except Saturday, May 29 and Monday, May 31 — with no appointment.

Parents who wish to have their children vaccinated (currently limited to age 16 and 17) can call 910-417-4909 to arrange an appointment. COVID-related questions, including vaccine, can be addressed by calling the COVID Hotline at 910-417-4947.