The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has been meeting for a year with virtually no one in the audience and with the commissioners wearing masks.
However, now, as vaccinations have become more prevalent, the commissioners’ meetings are starting to look more like the pre-pandemic meetings of old.
On Thursday, April 1, the commissioners met twice – first, in the cozy first-floor Blue Room for an afternoon work session and then a regular meeting in the large second-floor meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House. Members of the public weren’t allowed at the meetings.
However, both rooms were surprisingly populated with a solid contingent of county staff attending as well as representatives of companies and groups with business before the board.
At the regular evening meeting, there were plenty of key county staff and some being honored – such as a small group representing the Guilford County Family Justice Center.
Masks are also getting less popular with the commissioners. While the county commissioners and others in the Blue Room meeting remained masked for the afternoon work session, at the night session, every commissioner in attendance with the exception of new member Carly Cooke, did not wear a mask while seated at the dais. (Another new member, Commissioner James Upchurch, did don a mask toward the end of the meeting.)
In the past, many commissioners at the dais have remained masked despite the fact that the county invested in plexiglass panels that separate them from one another.
Former Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips told the Rhino Times in a text message that he’s been much less than impressed as to how the current board is handling the pandemic.
“As of 4:49 p.m. on Friday, March 26, since December 14, 2020 – essentially 14 weeks under the new Democrat-controlled Board of Commissioners – there have been more COVID-19 positives in Guilford County (23,297) than in all of 2020 combined (17,951).”
The former chairman added, “The bottom line: the heavy-handed countywide mask rules and restrictions (civil penalties, fines, and threats of business closure for non-compliance) implemented by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners (at the behest of the Mayor of Greensboro) on Dec. 9, 2020, obviously hasn’t made any difference whatsoever.”
“Commissioners need to end the mask mandate and open Guilford County fully – now,” Phillips concluded.