NORTH CAROLINA – In light of rising coronavirus cases across the state, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Wednesday mandating the use of face masks in public. It started at 5 p.m. Friday.

RELATED: Multiple N.C. Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Governor's Mask Requirement

Residents are required to wear a face covering in places such as grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, parking lots, sidewalks, and public transit.

The decision comes after several cities and counties within the state issued mask orders of their own.

Cooper also announced that the state will extend Phase 2 of reopening for an additional three weeks.

Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are generally punishable by a misdemeanor, but Wednesday’s order directs law enforcement to issue citations to businesses or organizations that fail to enforce mask requirements, not individuals.

There has been some pushback from different communities. One sheriff has also said he doesn't plan to enforcement the requirement.

Face coverings are not required:

  • For those who cannot wear a covering due to a medical or behavioral condition
  • For children under 12 years old
  • For restaurant patrons, while they are dining
  • In private, individual offices
  • When complying with directions of law enforcement officers
  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming
  • While with members of a family or the same household
  • For people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering
  • For those exercising outdoors or exercising with other people from the same household, as long as social distance is maintained