Guilford County government is likely to follow the lead of the City of Greensboro and other local governments across the state in implementing fines for bars, restaurants and other businesses for not enforcing mask-wearing rules or for failure to follow other COVID-19 compliance rules.
The move is due to the ongoing pandemic and the new numbers that are alarming county health officials.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston said that Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne and Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann are working on a set of guidelines for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to consider.
Throughout the pandemic, the Republican-run Board of Commissioners has been reluctant to do things like implement fines or shutdown the community – however, due to the Tuesday, Nov. 3 election, the board will be run by Democrats starting on Monday, Dec. 7, and Alston is a virtual certainty to be chairman.
Alston said this week that the alarming COVID-19 numbers Guilford County and North Carolina are seeing right now warrant serious action to thwart the spread of the disease.
According to Alston, the guidelines will be refined by county leaders and other members of a local task force formed to battle the disease. However, he added that the focus should be on fining businesses rather than individuals.
“These will be similar to those from the City of Greensboro,” Alston said of the rules and fines citizens can expect.
He added the fines will likely be for things like not requiring masks and for being over pandemic capacity levels.
It could be mid-December before any fines are implemented since the first county commissioners’ meeting – on Monday, Dec. 7 – is almost all procedural, with new business rarely conducted.