Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines has laid out the benchmarks he wants the city to hit before lifting the indoor mask mandate.

Joines says two key factors will be considered before lifting the emergency order that reinstated the requirement.

The first is a positive infection rate of 5 percent or less over two weeks. As of last week, the figure was 5.3 percent.

Also, Joines wants to see less than 10 new cases per 100,000 population for a five-day average. Last week, that number was at 18 per 100,000, according to figures from Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

Joines worked with Forsyth County Health Director Joshua Swift and infectious disease specialist Dr. Christopher Ohl of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist to establish the criteria.

The mayor brought back the indoor mask mandate in August during a surge of COVID-19 cases sparked by the delta variant.

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