Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines issued an emergency order requiring residents to wear masks in non-household situations indoors. It's the latest North Carolina city to reinstate indoor masking mandates.

The Twin City joins Charlotte, Raleigh and Boone, as well as Orange, Durham, Wake, and Buncombe counties, with Guilford's indoor masking mandate slated to begin later this month. According to Mayor Joines' declaration, face coverings will be required whenever people come into contact with non-household members indoors — places like restaurants, grocery stores, gyms and other businesses.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl says when fully vaccinated people transmit the highly contagious delta variant to other fully vaccinated people, the results are relatively mild, what he calls a “COVID cold.”

"What's the important thing about a COVID cold is not to give it to somebody who's immunocompromised or unvaccinated, or at the extremes of age, or has a lot of underlying medical problems," says Ohl. "That's the transmission from a vaccinated person that we worry about."

The new declaration in Winston-Salem recommends vaccination, and social distancing in spaces that require masking to slow the spread of COVID-19. The indoors mask mandate takes effect in Winston-Salem beginning Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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