Face Coverings Required in North Carolina

Face Coverings Required in North CarolinaIn North Carolina, individuals are required to wear a face covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

The state of North Carolina requires individuals to wear a face covering in public places. View State’s Executive Orders Here.  There are some exceptions to the requirement including for those dining in a restaurant, for reasons related to medical or behavioral conditions, and for children under the age of 11. Learn more about the guidance and limited exceptions here.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the exceptions for wearing face coverings?

A face covering does not need to be worn by a worker, customer or patron who meets one of the following exceptions:

  • 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)
  • Is under 11 years of age
  • Is actively eating or drinking
  • Is strenuously exercising
  • Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible
  • Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience
  • Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle
  • Is temporarily removing his or her face covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes
  • Would be at risk from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • Has found that their face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
  • Is a child whose parent, guardian or responsible person has been unable to place the face covering safely on the child’s face

No proof or documentation is required if an individual falls into an exception category.

Should I wear a cloth face covering or mask at the beach?

Yes. If you cannot social distance in an indoor or outdoor setting, a cloth face covering or mask should be worn.

How should I care for a cloth face covering?

It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.

Discard cloth face coverings that:

  • No longer cover the nose and mouth
  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Have holes or tears in the fabric

How do I wear a cloth face covering?

Cloth face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

When wearing a face covering please:

  • make sure you can breathe through it
  • wear it whenever social distancing measures are difficult to maintain
  • wash after using

Do I need to wear a face covering while exercising or walking outdoors?

No. If you are able to safely maintain at least 6 feet distance from others, you do not need to wear a face covering when exercising and walking outdoors.

Should children wear cloth face coverings?

Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies and children under the age of 2 because of danger of suffocation. Children over the age of 2 should wear cloth face coverings if they can reliably wear, remove and handle cloth face coverings throughout the day.

How will the face covering requirement be enforced?

Citations related to this order can be written to businesses or organizations that fail to enforce the requirement to wear face coverings.

Operators of businesses and organizations are entitled to rely on their customers or patrons’ statements about whether or not they are exempt from the face covering requirements, and businesses and organizations do not violate this order if they rely on customer or patron statements.

Law enforcement personnel cannot criminally enforce the face covering requirements of this order against individual workers, customers or patrons.

However, if a business or organization does not allow entry to a worker, customer or patron because that person refuses to wear a face covering, and if that worker, customer or patron enters the premises or refuses to leave the premises, law enforcement personnel may enforce the trespassing laws.

How to Make Your Own Cloth Face Covering

The CDC advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at a low cost.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Cloth masks are not a substitute for social distancing or proper hygiene.

Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at a low cost.

  • Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams explains how to make your own face coverings.
  • Sewn Face & No Sew Face Coverings