Could Raleigh soon drop its mask mandate?

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin is meeting Monday with Wake County Public Health to explore ways to drop the indoor mask mandate.

She said it's too soon to do away with it right now but the numbers are encouraging.

"At some point, we're all going to have to be responsible for ourselves and do what we feel is best for us," said Baldwin, who noted that she'll continue to be wearing a mask when she goes to PNC Arena or the grocery store.

She's hopeful that when they are able to get rid of the mandate, other Wake County towns with mandates will follow.

"If we have to wait two more weeks to get there, let's be smart and get us to the finish line as opposed to jumping the gun," she said.

Other towns that don't have the mandates say the decision has been good for business.

"I was raised to make choices, and I believe in that also," said Dave Burrell, owner of the Peak on Salem in Apex. "And I think that the government's gone through a lot in telling us what to do and what not to do. I'd prefer to see it opened up to everyone because I think it's hurting business."

Baldwin said that before the Omicron variant surge, they were looking at relaxing parts of the mandate. She said she is hopeful to be able to drop it fully whenever the time is right.

"Unfortunately, we've had two variants after the spike came down," Baldwin said. "Hoping and praying that isn't the case this time, and we can get rid of the mask mandate actually instead of just relaxing it."

Cases in North Carolina have been on a steady decline and so have other COVID-19 metrics, so that time may be drawing near. And earlier Friday, a Johns Hopkins University study found that lockdowns and mandates did little to reduce mortality but had "devastating" effects on society and should be soundly rejected as a tool for future pandemics. Read about these and other COVID-19 developments here.
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