The City of Raleigh will have an indoor mask mandate in place starting 5 p.m. this evening, according to a press release from the City of Raleigh. Additionally, health officials recommend wearing masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

“The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our community and across the state at an alarming rate,” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said in the press release. “The idea that we can hope COVID-19 will just go away on its own is not a reality. It’s time to take responsible action today and we are taking an important step to make sure the people of this community, and those who visit us, remain safe.”

Baldwin also encouraged Raleigh residents to get vaccinated. The City is requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated by September 17, or be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests. It is offering $250 and two days of bonus leave to employees who are fully vaccinated or get fully vaccinated by the September deadline.

Baldwin told the mayors of Wake County’s eleven other municipalities in a meeting this morning that a number of businesses have asked to have the mandate reinstated.  

Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria said he expects a similar mask mandate to go into effect sometime lat next week, but it will only be in effect in the county’s unincorporated areas. The other towns’ mayors and councils will need make their own decisions on a mask mandate.  

The N&O reports that several other Wake mayors had “questions, including about the effectiveness of masks, about how the orders would be enforced.” Knightdale Mayor Jessica Day said she wants to see a mask mandate in all the county’s towns and cities, as it gets confusing if not all areas are aligned.

WRAL reports that Holly Springs mayor Dick Sears said he doesn’t want to have a mask mandate, but that it’s necessary until the county could get its coronavirus cases down.

Currently, masks are only required inside county buildings in Wake. 

Raleigh will join Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Greensboro in reinstating a mask mandate.

Meanwhile, in-person classes resume at N.C. State on Monday, but the campus community’s vaccination rate lags far behind UNC-Chapel Hill’s. N.C. State officials told WRAL that more than 25,000 people, or 54 percent of the campus community, report being fully vaccinated. That’s far behind UNC-Chapel Hill’s reported rate of 84 percent. 

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