Feb 17, 2022 - COVID

Mask mandate to end. Here’s a timeline of every mandate in Charlotte since 2020

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Photo: Andy Weber

Mecklenburg County’s mask mandate will end next Saturday, Feb. 26, commissioners decided Wednesday night.

What’s happening: Commissioners voted unanimously to end the mandate, following a recommendation by county public health director Raynard Washington. This comes 169 days after it went into effect on Aug. 31.

Why now: COVID cases have decreased by about 87% since the peak of Omicron in early January, and hospitalizations are down 37%, Washington told the board.

Go deeper: Charlotte inches toward a return to ‘normal’ on the COVID-19 front

Timeline: For those keeping track, we’ve had several mask mandates since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

  • June 2020: Gov. Cooper issued a statewide mandate that and required people to wear masks inside and outside.
  • November 2020: Cooper increased the requirement ahead of the 2020 holidays to say that they must be worn indoors if you’re with anyone who’s not of the same household.
  • April 2021: Cooper removed the outdoor requirement.
  • May 2021: Cooper dropped the general mask mandate.
  • August 18, 2021: With the Delta variant surging, the City of Charlotte enacted a local indoor mask mandate.
  • August 31, 2021: Mecklenburg County hopped on top of that and made the mandate cover the whole county.
  • November 2021: A new health rule said that the county will drop the mandate as soon as the COVID-19 positivity rate is below 5% for 17 days.
  • February 16, 2022: With positivity rates around 15.7% but falling, the county dropped the mandate. (Washington says the percent positivity rate is no longer a reliable metric, given the number of unreported at-home tests.)
  • February 26, 2022: Farewell mask mandate.

What they’re saying: “This is not getting rid of masks,” health director Washington said Wednesday night. “This is getting ride of the mandate.”

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