On Thursday, Feb.17, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will meet as the Guilford County Board of Health to consider rescinding the current mask mandate for Guilford County.  

However, Commissioner Justin Conrad, said that no one should expect the county to follow in the footsteps of many other governments across the state and the country and remove the mandate.  Conrad, a Republican commissioner who’s never voted for the mask mandate, said the rule will stay in place until at least the end of the month.

Guilford County voted to implement a mask mandate in mid-January as COVID-19 cases were on the rise. The county’s mandate requires that everyone in a public venue such as a store, bar, restaurant, theater or concert hall wear a mask while indoors.

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Conrad attended an “Agenda Meeting” where some commissioners and county staff discussed the agenda for the board’s Feb. 17 meeting.  Conrad said it became crystal clear that Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston was allowing Cone Health to make the masking decisions for him, and Alston and the other Democratic members of the 6-to-3 majority weren’t going to remove the mandate.

“I’d be floored if they did,” Conrad said.

Conrad said that one health official told the board at the meeting that, without the mask mandate, the number of COVID-19 cases would continue to fall but “probably” not as fast. 

Conrad added that the whole masking process undertaken by Guilford County has been based mostly on conjecture instead of science – and, in the past, Conrad has brought scientific studies to the board meetings to make his arguments against the standard COVID-19 line of advice.

“I guess I’ll have to go to New Jersey if I don’t want to wear a mask,” Conrad said, pointing out that even liberal governments in the US have begun to see the uselessness of masking in the current situation.