The longest-running state of emergency declaration in Orange County history will expire at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Orange County originally declared a state of emergency due to COVID on March 13, 2020, and extended it more than a dozen times as conditions warranted. With the overall situation improving, officials will allow the current declaration to expire as scheduled.
As a result, masks will no longer be required in some indoor settings, including public transportation. Even so, Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart urges individuals to wear masks while using public transportation.
“Wearing a mask is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations,” she said. “Wearing a well-fitted mask over the nose and mouth in indoor travel or public transportation settings protects the individual wearing the mask and those around them, including those who are immunocompromised, unvaccinated or not yet vaccine-eligible. This helps to keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone.”
Key metrics like number of hospital admissions and percent of emergency room visits due to COVID remain low across North Carolina, and no counties in the state are considered at high risk of straining their healthcare system.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s state of emergency declaration for North Carolina is still in effect, and NCDHHS continues to recommend masks for individuals in high-risk settings (health and long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters).