RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper is going all in on masks. At a special press conference Monday afternoon, held amid ‘record cases,’ Cooper proclaimed, ‘We are in danger.’ He then described an expansion of mask mandates, requiring you — under threat of civil penalty — to mask up in any public private residence when with people from outside your household.
That’s right; the Pandemic Panic has brought us a government decree to cover our faces in our own homes with guests, on the week of Thanksgiving.
It goes beyond masking up between bites of turkey, however. The ‘extra layers’ to the mask order are substantial, and enforcement has been ramped up.
- Kids in private schools will be forced to wear masks for the first time. Cooper previously only required them in public schools (5 years old and up).
- Stepped up enforcement of occupancy limits and making sure customers wear masks at retail stores 15,000 sq ft and up.
- People must wear them while exercising in gyms.
- People who ride public transportation could be denied access if they don’t wear a mask.
- Restaurant diners must wear them at their tables unless they are actively eating or drinking.
Public Health Czar Mandy Cohen said, “Very simply, you need to be wearing a mask when you are around anyone not in your household.”
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It might seem unbelievable that you could get fined for not wearing a mask in your own house, but the order goes after individuals for the first time.
In addition to to fining businesses that violate the mask orders, individuals will now be open to penalty for violating the order, a.k.a. not wearing a mask when with anyone from outside your household, regardless of whether or not your six feet apart.
Again, this order comes the week of Thanksgiving.
Cooper, of course, left the door open for even more lockdown restrictions, but is hoping the mask mania quells the spikes in cases.
While hospitalizations are up, the overall spikes in cases are proving to be a pre-holiday rush for a Pandemic hall pass of sorts. Testing sites are overrun, with long waits, and running out of supplies. At the same time, the rate of positive tests continues to fall from last week, now under seven percent.
There’s no State COVID Police force at Cooper’s disposal, so Cooper must rely on local officials to crack the whip on enforcement. The presser featured Greenboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn to sell local clamp downs on violators of the Governor’s decrees.
How much people ultimately pay attention to these mandates remains to be seen; initial estimates show a good number of people still plan to travel for the holiday.
Making your own decisions, taking care to reduce your own risks, is one thing. The government, one man in the government, using the force of his office to come into your home and command you wear a mask is something altogether different.
Different, in fact, than how our government is supposed to work, with regards to our personal rights and responsibilities. So, on a week in which we give thanks for our blessings, our heritage of individual liberty not least among them, we face a conflict presented by Pandemic Panic.