Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips announced on Thursday, April 16, that Guilford County’s local stay-at-home order – originally issued on Wednesday, March 25 – expires at midnight on Thursday, April 16, and he stated that the county’s order will not be extended at the current time.
After Guilford County’s order was issued last month, Gov. Roy Cooper put in place a similar statewide stay-at-home order, and, over the past several weeks, both Guilford County and the State of North Carolina have amended their respective orders. That’s created some redundancy, Phillips stated this week, along with some inconsistencies in enforcement.
Guilford County made the April 16 announcement in the morning hours before a 5:30 p.m. regularly scheduled commissioners meeting, where Phillips will have more to say on the matter.
According to Phillips, Guilford County took “immediate and early action prior to State intervention” in order to help control the extent of the coronavirus damage in Guilford County, but, after midnight on April 16, county residents will be subject to the provisions of the state’s order exclusively.
That should remove any confusion about which law to follow when one law varied in some respect from the other. Usually state orders take precedence, but in this case Cooper said whichever order was more stringent took precedence.
In the April 16, order, Phillips makes it crystal clear that many restrictions will still remain in effect on county residents.
“The expiration of a local order is not a call to return to business as usual,” Phillips stated in the press release. “Guilford County is still experiencing infection locally and we are not out of the woods. We still face, and we will continue to face for many more months, a virus that spreads through physical contact. It continues to be important that residents do everything they can to minimize the amount of physical contact with other people.”
Phillips will have more to say on the topic at the April 16 Board of Commissioners meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. That can be viewed at the county’s website or on Greensboro Television Network (GTN) – available on Spectrum Channel 13, NorthState Channel 31 and AT&T U-verse channel.
Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said on Thursday that the major difference between the two orders is that the State order “includes a broader list of ‘essential businesses.’”
“The Guilford County order,” Payne wrote in an email, “did not set its own ‘social distancing’ requirements; rather, it adopted the social distancing requirements of the State and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”
“Executive Order 131 [from the state] significantly increased the social distancing requirement for retail businesses,” Payne wrote, “which, in my opinion, brought the cumulative impact of the State orders significantly closer to that of the Guilford County order. It is not virtually identical though; there are several types of retail businesses that were not deemed essential under the Guilford County order that are deemed essential so long as they comply with social distancing requirements.”