MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. - As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office announced a 'Stay-at-Home' order for county residents.
The order will go into effect on Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 a.m. and will remain in effect for the next 21 days.
The order was announced Tuesday afternoon by Mecklenburg County Public Health Director, Gibbie Harris during the Board of County Commissioners Budget and Public Policy meeting.
The order will require county residents to remain in their homes for the next 21 days as part of an attempt to reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections within Mecklenburg County.
Exceptions will be allowed for those seeking medical treatment, buying food or exercising outdoors.
Essential workers, including hospital and medical staff, pharmacy employees, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS Agency (MEDIC), some government employees and foodservice and grocery store employees will be allowed to travel to work.
"As we said from the beginning, we must act based on what we are seeing on the ground in our community," said Harris. "Mecklenburg County has far more cases than any other County in North Carolina, and this extra step will keep more people away from each other and begin to flatten the rate of new cases before the hospital system becomes overwhelmed."
The order will be enforced by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
The order will not prohibit restaurants from providing take out or delivery options. It also does not prohibit daycares, homeless shelters and government agencies from operating.
There are approximately 1.2 million people in the county.
What you CAN do during this 'Stay-At-Home' Order:
- Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
- Visiting a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first)
- Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
- Care for or support a friend or family member
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise - just keep at least six feet between you and others
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
- Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
What you can NOT do during this 'Stay-At-Home' Order:
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by the Order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursery facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions listed on the facility websites
- Travel except for essential travel and activities
- On March 23, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order: Prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more people, Closing hair salons and barber shops, gyms, movie theaters and similar businesses offering activities that run counter to social distancing, by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, and Extending the closure of NC Public Schools K-12 until May 15.
- On March 20, the State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory warning all Americans to avoid all international travel.
- On March 17, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order closing restaurants and bars for dine-in service.
If you have questions about the 'Stay-At-Home' order, please call the Mecklenburg County Stay at Home Order Call Center at 704-353-1926.
This is a developing story. More details to come.