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Cornelius News

Face masks: Local mandate not happening in Cornelius

June 19. By Dave Vieser. Members of the Cornelius Town Board say they are not in favor of mandating the use of face masks as Mecklenburg County contemplates such a measure. The issue, which came up at the conclusion of their Thursday June 18 special meeting, will most likely be decided by the governor.

The city of Raleigh has mandated masks in public where social distancing is difficult or impossible.

But commissioners in Cornelius voiced “unanimous concern” over how to enforce a mandate for masks, said Mayor Woody Washam.

“How would the police take on this enforcement responsibility in addition to dealing with the current environment?” he said.


If the county adopts a mandatory regulation without the approval of the composite towns, it would only apply in unincorporated areas of the county.

Commissioner Pat Cotham said the county board doesn’t have the authority to mandate masks without all six towns agreeing.


“Many residents have told me they struggle with wearing masks for a variety of reasons,” Cotham said.

“I worry about people being shamed by others who might not understand why they choose not to wear a mask. I wear a mask when I am out. But if a mom is with her child who has a hearing problem and she is not wearing a mask, I trust her to do what is best for her family,” the county commissioner said.

A state regulation is a different story. Gov. Roy Cooper says the rising number of coronavirus is deeply concerning. He may require face masks next week when social distancing in public is difficult or impossible.

“If the governor requires masks for North Carolina, Cornelius will absolutely comply,” Washam said.

Whether a mandatory use regulation is adopted or not by either the state or the county, the town board continues to highly encourage the use of masks in any public place within the town.