Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan made a guest appearance at the Gov. Roy Cooper COVID-19 virtual press conference on Monday, Nov. 23.
Vaughan was evidently invited to the show because on Friday, Nov. 20, Vaughan issued an emergency declaration stating that Greensboro was going to begin enforcing the current statewide COVID-19 restrictions ordered by Cooper.
Cooper, in response to several questions from the media, indicated that the state had no specific plans to begin enforcement of the executive orders that he has put in place, with executive order number 180 being issued prior to the press conference on Monday, Nov. 23 and goes into effect on Wednesday Nov. 25. Greensboro was also the only city mentioned that has started its own enforcement of the state mandates.
According to the state’s new color-coded alert system, last week Guilford County was yellow, which is “significant,” but by the time of the press conference Guilford County was in red, which indicates “critical.” The alert map according to Cooper was updated early for the press conference.
Vaughan said that she made the decision to issue the emergency declaration because of the increasing number of hospitalizations in Greensboro. Vaughan said the number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 was doubling every 27 days.
Vaughan said that according to Cone Health, 230 people in Guilford County had died from COVID-19 an,d “At the rate we are going they predict we could have 100 more by end of this year.”
She said one reason the decision was made to enforce civil penalties for violating the COVID-19 executive orders because, “We were also challenged by using law enforcement to enforce the order since their resources were already stretched thin.”
Vaughan said that in Greensboro city employees from code enforcement, special events and parking enforcing would be tasked with enforcing the COVID-19 executive orders.
The civil penalty for businesses that are over the reduced capacity limits is a fine of $100 for each person they are over the limit. Businesses found in violation can also be closed from 24 to 72 hours for those violations
Vaughan said, “All businesses must enforce the face covering requirement on all their employees.” She noted that according to the new executive order from Cooper even employees not in contact with the general public must wear a mask.
It is worth noting that local government is exempt from face mask provisions in the executive order.