In a highly controversial move, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston announced at a 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4 press conference that he was implementing a new mask mandate for unincorporated parts of Guilford County as well as for the towns in Guilford County that have agreed to go along with it. 

The mandate, which begins on Wednesday, Jan. 5, will be similar to a previous mandate that required everyone in the county to mask when indoors at public places like stores, bars, clubs, restaurants and music venues.

The ban will not be in effect for some cities and towns – such as Greensboro and High Point – which haven’t signed on to the resolution.  The towns that have agreed to enforce the mandate are Gibsonville, Sedalia, Pleasant Garden and Jamestown.

“We’re hoping others will join us,” Alston stated at the press conference.

The ban will be in effect until a Jan.13 meeting of the Board of Commissioners at which future actions will be decided.

Alston said that, whether male or female, Republican or Democrat, or regardless of any other distinguishing characteristics, “We all must continue to work together.”

The press conference began with Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann speaking on the dire nature of the situation.

She said that the positivity rate for those taking COVID-19 tests in the county over the last two weeks had averaged over 18 precent.

Alston said immediate action was required.

“We must act now,” he said, adding, “These are more than just numbers – these numbers represent real people.”

The chairman also stated that local hospitals are currently “stretched beyond their limits.”

In addition, he asked that businesses within cities and towns that are not going along with the mask mandate implement their own mask wearing requirements for their workers and customers.