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A sign requiring mask use is seen outside of a store in Union Station on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Following a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the City of Fayetteville, Mayor Mitch Colvin has once again implemented an indoor mask mandate for individuals.

The mandate goes into effect Friday, August 20 at 5 p.m., and was declared during a City Council work session Wednesday evening.

“All persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Fayetteville are required to wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private indoor spaces,” the emergency declaration from the City of Fayetteville reads. “These spaces include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness centers and public transit. While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance insofar as possible since social distancing is the best defense against the spread of the COVID-19. The wearing of face coverings when outdoors is strongly encouraged when social distancing is not possible.”

The Fayetteville mask mandate follows an order from Cumberland County Schools that all individuals in school buildings will need to wear masks as the school year begins.

The mandate does allow for anyone with health restrictions or disabilities to go without a mask. According to the order, it also provides for several other exceptions, including no mask being required for:

  • Is a child under two (2) years of age;
  • Is a child under five (5) years of age and their parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face covering safely on the child’s face;
  • Is actively eating or drinking;
  • Is in a private, individual office;
  • Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
  • Is giving a speech or performance or a broadcast, or to an audience, where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience;
  • Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle;
  • Is temporarily removing their face covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes or at the request of a law enforcement officer;
  • Would be at risk for wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming;
  • Has found that their face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle; or
  • Attends worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings; funeral ceremonies; wedding ceremonies; and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.

While there is no specific compliance mechanism put in place according to the order, individuals are encouraged to do so voluntarily.

“The intent of this declaration amendment is to encourage voluntary compliance with the requirements established herein by businesses and persons within the City of Fayetteville,” the order reads. “Law enforcement and other public safety and emergency management personnel are strongly encouraged to educate and encourage voluntary compliance with this order.”

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Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.