There’s a very intense debate among Guilford County leaders right now as to how the county should address the rise in coronavirus cases due to the Omicron variant.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has called a special meeting to discuss that response, including the pros and cons of a new mask mandate.

On Monday, Jan. 3, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, which is also the Guilford County Board of Health, has called a special meeting in its role as the health board, “to consider implementing a proposed Board of Health rule related to the reinstatement of mandates regarding face masks and face coverings as result of the surge in COVID-19 infections; with a proposed effective date of 1/13/22; and to transact any other necessary business.”

It should be an interesting discussion: Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who called the meeting, sees masks as an effective tool against the spread of the virus. However, Commissioner James Upchurch has argued that it is “insane” to go back to a mandate and he also said recently that he didn’t believe the votes were there to implement another mask mandate.  The previous mandate required everyone in the county – with some rare exceptions – to wear a mask while indoors at a public establishment such as a store, restaurant or concert venue.

Upchurch stated recently that virus transmission rates in counties where masking is required are not lower than rates in Guilford County where a mask mandate has not been in effect since November.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 13, at 5 p.m. and will be virtual.  In addition to being broadcast via Zoom, it will be streamed on the county’s Facebook page.

Anyone can watch the meeting by joining the Zoom platform using computer, tablet or smartphone at  (If required, enter meeting ID: 886 7431 8328 at the prompt.)

The meeting will be livestreamed on Guilford County’s Facebook page at

Those who would like more information about watching can contact Deputy Clerk Jessica Wolf at