WENDELL, N.C. (NewsNation Now) — A North Carolina store owner has been cited for encouraging customers “not” to wear masks in her store. Police said the signs violate Gov. Roy Cooper’s mask-wearing order, which was imposed to preserve public health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wendell General Store owner Regina Harmon was cited Wednesday with one count of aiding and abetting the violation of an executive order, NewsNation affiliate WNCN reported.
Police received a complaint that Harmon’s store posted signs stating: “Masks not required, exceptions to every rule” and “We request that you not wear a face covering, for the safety of our customers and staff.”
Wendell Police Chief Bill Carter said officers investigated and cited Harmon after consulting with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.
Face coverings have been required in North Carolina since June, but with infections rising, Cooper issued a new executive order that took effect Nov. 25, tightening the mask requirement.
Wendell is located 12 miles east from the state capital of Raleigh. Harmon declined to comment and told WNCN she has hired an attorney.
“Every business has their own policy. We took the stance to be safe,” said Wendell Melody Narla, a Wendell business owner showcasing precautions including an air filtration system. “It’s constantly just filtering the air, cleaning it, pushing it back out.”
Violating the mask mandate is Class 2 misdemeanor and could result in a fine of up to $1,000.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WNCN contributed to this report.