Press release from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office:
Starting Friday, June 26th at 5 p.m. face coverings are required across North Carolina as part of an Executive Order issued by Governor Roy Cooper. The full order can be read here.We have received many questions at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office from community members about the executive order.First, let’s start with how face coverings are defined in the order:“Face Covering” means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. A Face Covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. Ideally, a Face Covering has two (2) or more layers. A Face Covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.Face coverings are required for indoor and outdoor settings, however some exemptions are in place:A Face Covering does not need to be worn by-a worker, customer, or patron who:1. Should not wear a Face Covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance);2. Is under eleven ( 11) years of age;3. Is actively eating or drinking;4. Is strenuously exercising;5. Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;6. Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience;7. Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle;8. Is temporarily removing his or her Face Covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes;9. Would be at risk from wearing a Face Covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;10. Has found that his or her Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle; or11. Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the Face Covering safely on the child’s face.Anyone who declines to wear a Face Covering for these reasons should not be required to produce documentation or any other proof of a condition. Children under two (2) years of age should not wear a Face Covering.We have seen many viral social media posts about “official exemption cards” that are false and misleading. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office does not have any official documentation we are issuing regarding exemptions.Regarding enforcement of the ordinance, please do not call 911 to report individuals or businesses that are not complying.We ask that our community members and visitors to Buncombe County engage in voluntary compliance with this executive order. COVID-19 is a serious public health issue and we hope that everyone can work together to allow our businesses to operate while keeping workers and community members safe and healthy.According to the executive order:“Law enforcement personnel are not authorized to criminally enforce the Face Covering requirements of this Executive Order against individual workers, customers, or patrons.”However, for our community members doing business at any Buncombe County facility or building wearing a mask is required.Businesses also have the right to require that patrons wear a face covering. If an individual fails to comply after being asked by the business they can be asked to leave and must comply or face being charged with trespassing.