On Thursday, Feb. 17, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to get rid of the mask mandate that it passed at the start of the year and required everyone in Guilford County to mask up while indoors in public places like restaurants, clubs and stores. 

The board’s action to rescind the mandate took place immediately.  However, the News & Record reported on Friday, Feb. 18 that the repeal went into effect on Feb. 27, and some people and shop owners are still under the impression that the board’s action would only be in effect on that date.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that the mask mandate removal was immediate – masks were no longer required once the vote was taken last week.

“I stated that at the meeting,” Allston said.

Also, the day after the meeting, the county put out a press release titled, “Commissioners Vote to Repeal Mask Mandate Immediately.”

It stated, “Guilford County Commissioners met Thursday, February 17, 2022 as the Guilford County Board of Health and voted to repeal the countywide mask mandate … The motion to rescind the mask mandate passed 7-0, effective immediately.”

Some of the confusion may be from the fact that businesses in the county continue to have the option to require masks – and, of course, citizens are free to wear masks until the end of time should they choose to do so.

Others in specialized occupations, such as bank robbers, will no doubt continue to wear masks even long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Alston said business owners can do what they like.

 “If you go into a business and they feel a mask protects them and protects their customers and they require you to wear a mask,” the chairman said, “then you should wear a mask. It’s their business.”

Alston said it was important if a business continues to require masks of its customers that that business put up a sign to that effect at the entrances.

“I have several businesses and I’m going to put a sign on all the doors – because I want to protect my employees and I want to protect my customers. That’s my choice.”

In related news, this week the Guilford County Board of Education lifted the mask mandate for students in schools – also effective immediately.

A statement from the school system read, “Following the recommendation of Superintendent Sharon Contreras, the Guilford County Board of Education lifted the mask mandate for students and staff at a special called meeting Monday night. Guilford County Schools will become mask-optional, effective immediately.”