On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners plans to hold a special meeting at which the board will put into effect a countywide set of fines for businesses in when those businesses don’t enforce a coming set of mask requirements.

The fines will be imposed on businesses in Guilford County that do not adhere to mask guidelines for their employees, or that do not require masks of customers – and there will also be fines for businesses that fail to adhere to social distancing guidelines or that operate at over pandemic capacity restrictions.

Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston said this week that, given the severity of the pandemic, the board couldn’t afford to wait until its next regular business meeting in mid-December. Therefore, he said, at a Monday, Dec. 7 meeting for swearing in new commissioners, the board will call a special meeting for December 9.

According to Alston, Guilford County has been in talks with the City of Greensboro and the City of High Point – and the new rules and fines will apply throughout all of Guilford County.

Next Monday morning, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will swear in three new commissioners and the board will then be controlled by a Democratic majority for the first time since 2012. Alston said that he is certain the votes are there to impose the fines meant to help reduce the spread of the virus.  

He also said that the matter was too urgent to put on hold.

“People are dying,” Alston said. “Waiting until the first regular scheduled meeting would have meant that more people would die.”

The Monday, Dec. 7 meeting is being held for the purpose of swearing in new commissioners and electing a chair and vice chair of the board for the coming year. That meeting is not used for other business.