On Tuesday evening, March 24, Guilford County released an amended State of Emergency Declaration along with a video message from Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips.

The tighter restrictions under the new declaration prohibit gatherings to no more than 10 people and also prohibit the use of all public and privately-owned playgrounds. The restrictions go into effect at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.

Those moves are meant to help preserve the health and safety of county residents, but now parents who were already wondering what to do with their school-aged children all day long will have one less option.

County officials point out that the new order does not pertain to playgrounds at private residences.

Guilford County first declared a State of Emergency on Friday, March 13 – Friday the 13th, in other words – in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This new declaration of more stringent restrictions came after Phillips and Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston met with county staff early on Tuesday, March 24. In the message released on YouTube, Phillips pointed out that, this week, Guilford County saw its first case of community spread for the virus – a positive test with “no connection to recent travel or another COVID-19 case.”

“The county has made the decision to enact tighter restrictions based on the input from the Communities Health System Partners in an effort to further slow the spread of the virus and protect the healthcare system and to keep more residents healthy,” Phillips stated.

“We are now entering a challenging phase in a rapidly changing situation. We need every member of our community to follow the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendations, to cover their sneeze and cough, to stay home when sick, to wash their hands frequently and reduce social interactions.”

Phillips stated that, if these measures are followed and they successfully slow the spread of the virus, there is hope that the county will not have “the need for more drastic measures” like those seen elsewhere.

Before Guilford County made its announcement late Tuesday, Mecklenburg County officials issued new stricter directives for that county.

There are numerous business exclusions for Guilford County’s new social gathering mandate of no more than 10 people in a group. Those can be found on the county’s website at www.guilfordcountync.gov.