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North Carolina’s restrictions on public mask-wearing are now law after some key revisions

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s contentious restrictions on public mask-wearing became law on Thursday after GOP lawmakers successfully overrode a veto by the state’s Democratic governor.

The Senate gave its final stamp of approval in a 30-14 override vote along party lines. The state House initiated the process Wednesday when it voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto during a lengthy session that lasted well into the night.

The ban joins a list of more than 20 gubernatorial vetoes the GOP-dominated North Carolina General Assembly has overridden in the past year. Republicans hold narrow supermajorities in both chambers.

The law, most of which goes into effect immediately, contains different language from the bill that lawmakers first introduced this session. The original proposal had removed a 2020 bipartisan regulation put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed masking for health reasons, prompting pushback from the public and some Democratic legislators. The lawmakers restored a medical exemption.


The law allows people to wear medical or surgical-grade masks in public to prevent the spread of illness. Law enforcement and property owners can ask people to temporarily remove those masks to verify their identity.

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