Today, Governor Cooper issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5 p.m. to remain in effect for thirty days unless otherwise repealed.
The state-wide order trumps the local county orders to the extent that the county orders are less restrictive, meaning that if you are not an essential business under the state-wide order, you have to cease travel by Monday at 5 p.m.
However, that is not likely to be many people in Mecklenburg County because the County’s order is much more restrictive than the state’s order. If you are a non-essential business under the county order, you must remain home, regardless of the state’s order. In other words, if the county and state order conflict, Gov. Cooper said the more restrictive measure applies.
If Mecklenburg County issues an order adopting the state’s order, a lot more business owners would be able to travel to work. Not only are there more essential businesses listed in the state’s order (read it here), but the state’s order contains a broad category of essential businesses that can remain open if the business meets “Social Distancing Requirements . . . Between and among its employees; and . . . Between and among employees and customers except at the point of sale or purchase.” Social distancing requirements are defined as:
a. maintaining at least six (6) feet distancing from other individuals;
b. washing hands using soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds as frequently as possible or the use of hand sanitizer;
c. regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
d. facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible
Additionally, the Governor’s state-wide order contains a provision allowing businesses excluded from the list of essential businesses who believe that they may be essential to request to be included to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (the "Department") via a point of contact and procedure to be listed on its website. The Department may grant such request if it determines that it is in the best interest of the State to have the business continue operations in order to properly respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. A business that has made a request to the Department to be included as an essential business may continue to operate until that request is acted upon.
Finally, the state order is in effect for longer than the County’s. If the County does not adopt the state’s order, County residents will be subject to the County order until April 16 and then switch over to the State’s order until April 29 (unless either are repealed earlier or extended).
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update if Mecklenburg County adopts the State’s order.
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