Many Guilford County residents were hoping the Guilford County Board of Commissioners would do away with the current mask mandate at the Thursday, Feb. 3 meeting.

However, those people will have to wait a little longer.  The commissioners did discuss the current state of the coronavirus in the county at length, but in the end, took no action on the mandate.

At the meeting, there was a dramatic change in tone from speakers from the floor compared with a January meeting at which the commissioners implemented the current mask mandate.  In January, every speaker from the floor was opposed to the mandate, while, at the start of the Feb. 3 meeting, nearly every speaker spoke in favor of it.

The mandate implemented last month requires all citizens to wear masks when indoors at public places such as stores and restaurants – with few exceptions, such as when a person is actively eating or is trying to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired.

Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann told the board that the mandate was helping keep the county’s COVID-19 numbers from rising as fast as they were in nearby counties.

“Our positivity rates did increase, however, compared to our surrounding counties that do not have a mask mandate, Guilford County has stagnated in the growth of that positivity rate,” Vann told the board.

The February 3 meeting was held virtually due to the current levels of COVID-19 in the county.

Commissioner Mary Beth Murphy said that, when the commissioners implemented the mandate, they agreed to review it periodically and she was glad they were doing that. 

“It definitely is clear to me that the mask mandate is something that we continue to need in our community, given the ongoing impact of COVID and the high level of community spread,” Murphy said after hearing the report on the latest virus stats for Guilford County.