On Tuesday, March 17, the City of High Point joined the City of Greensboro and Guilford County in declaring itself to be in a State of Emergency.
High Point, like other local governments in Guilford County and across the country, has been blindsided by the coronavirus pandemic, and, at 11:01 a.m. on Tuesday, the city entered in to the State of Emergency – which provides the government with special powers that go well beyond those the city has in ordinary times.
The city’s declaration follows in the wake of a Tuesday, March 10 declaration by NC Governor Roy Cooper of a State of Emergency for the state of North Carolina. On March 14, Cooper next issued “Executive Order No. 117,” which prohibited mass gatherings and directed the closure of K-12 public schools across the state.
Following in those steps by the governor, High Point Mayor Jay Wagner declared a State of Emergency to exist within the corporate limits of High Point.
The mayor, in the declaration, also announced new prohibitions and restrictions for residents. The declaration cites NC General Statute 166A as the basis for those powers. That statute grants local governments a large number of extra-ordinary powers during an emergency.
The prohibitions for High Point are as follows:
- Mass gatherings on city property are banned. “It shall be prohibited for any organized group of persons to assemble on property owned by the City of High Point until this Declaration has been rescinded,” the resolution reads.
- Restricted access to city property. Under the declaration, the High Point city manager is authorized to take any necessary actions – and set any necessary policies – to restrict access to city facilities. Many city buildings including the libraries, the museum and the recreation centers are closed until further notice. (The city had already announced some of those closures on Monday, March 16, the day before declaring the emergency state).
- Restricted business hours. The resolution gives High Point the power to restrict the hours of local businesses.
The city’s declaration also puts High Point’s police officers and emergency responders on notice that they may be called on to implement the emergency measures going in place.