Cloth Face Coverings and Masks

Slow the spread. Wear a cloth mask or face covering.

Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings or masks, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Wearing a cloth mask in public settings is a simple but powerful action to slow the spread of this virus. 

Under Executive Order 147, North Carolinians must wear cloth masks over their nose and mouth when in public places where physical distancing is not possible.

Certain businesses must have employees and customers wear cloth masks over the nose and mouth, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.

There are exceptions including people with medical conditions, people who are at home, and people who are walking or otherwise exercising outside when not within 6 feet of others.

Cloth masks can play a part in controlling the spread if they are used properly and in combination with other everyday preventive actions like washing hands, social distancing and wiping down surfaces. If used incorrectly, face coverings or masks can expose someone to more germs. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing or adjusting a cloth mask and wash hands immediately after removing or adjusting.

The CDC does not recommend medical masks as our supplies of masks need to first go to those who work on the frontlines, including health care workers.


People are expected to follow the Governor’s order on face coverings. You can help by making sure you always wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth when you’re in public and by encouraging your family and friends to do the same.

To report possible violations, contact local authorities using non-emergency phone numbers. If you are concerned that your local law enforcement won’t enforce the order, you can report violations to other local authorities including your local health department.