In response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases within Pitt County, and the impacts a more dramatic rise could have on local health systems, Pitt County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Melvin McLawhorn today signed a new State of Emergency Declaration. This new declaration supersedes the one currently in effect since March 18, and includes new restrictions aimed at helping slow the spread of COVID-19.
The declaration affects all unincorporated areas of Pitt County, and includes requirements for some types of businesses to close, prohibits gatherings of 50 people or more, and restricts the use of playground equipment at parks (while maintaining access to open-air spaces and greenways). These restrictions are set to take effect at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and last for approximately two weeks, at which time a re-evaluation will take place.
Full restrictions of the new declaration include:
- Closing fitness clubs, gyms, hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas, tanning, massage, and tattoo salons, and other professional grooming services
- Cancelling mass gatherings of 50 or more people, including both staff and patrons. *NOTE: This does not include organizations that provide critical services like hospitals, daycares, government operations, financial institutions; or retailers of essential goods like grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores and hardware stores
- Prohibiting the use of playground equipment at public and private parks. *NOTE: This does not include backyard playgrounds or open-air amenities such as greenways and walking trails
- Recommendations that retail businesses strictly follow the guidelines and recommendations of the WHO, CDC, and NCDHHS to promote the safety and welfare of their employees and the public.
Pitt County Manager, Scott Elliott noted of the new declaration that “these proactive steps are being made in an effort to minimize the need for more elevated response measures, such as a full ‘stay-at-home’ order as seen in other areas of the nation.” Elliott continued that “with the cooperation of our municipal partners, community agencies, businesses, and our friends and neighbors, together we can achieve the goals of limiting the spread of COVID-19, and ensuring the sustained services for our community.”
All information regarding Pitt County’s response efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak are available on the Coronavirus Information Page of the Pitt County Website, at: www.pittcountync.gov/coronavirus.