Durham businesses able to reopen under state’s order, remainder of local order in effect through May 15

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — In Durham County, local officials said the city/county stay-at-home order will stay in effect through May 15.

However, when considering retail businesses, the state’s modified order that was signed by Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday said: “local restrictions cannot set different retail requirements.”

This means retail businesses in Durham can reopen on May 8th at 5 p.m. at 50 percent capacity.

Ultimate Comics is one of the businesses in Durham that is planning to reopen on Saturday.

“I’m definitely excited, but we’re going into it with an abundance of caution,” said Alan Gill, owner of Ultimate Comics.

Gill was forced to close his business in March under the city’s stay-at-home order. He has since been able to open up for curbside pickup.

Since his business was forced to close he said they have lost 95 percent of sales.

Gill said he is prepared to reopen his doors to the public with the required social distancing measures in place.

“We’re going to be only allowing six people in the store at a time,” Gill said. “Our employees will wear masks while working. We also have plexiglass shields that are going to be going up in front of the registers.”

Gill said they are also requiring all customers to wash their hands before coming in the store.

“I don’t think it’s too early to reopen if people take it seriously,” Gill said.

On Wednesday, the Durham County Department of Public Health announced the number of COVID-19 related deaths had risen to 30. The total number of coronavirus cases in the county has increased to 818.

Durham County Commissioner Wendy Jacobs said even though retail businesses can open, officials are still asking county residents to remember Durham’s city/county stay-at-home order will stay in effect until May 15th.

“We still want people to stay at home as much as possible,” said Wendy Jacobs, chair of the Durham Board of County Commissioners.

Jacobs said face coverings are still required when social distancing is not possible. Also, they are asking all residents to practice proper handwashing hygiene.

“We have been able to really flatten the curve here in Durham and the entire state, but we’re still seeing increasing deaths and increasing cases,” Jacobs said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Durham city and county leaders announced they will be creating a recovery and renewal task force that will advise them over the next 100 days on how to revise emergency declarations and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 crisis.

As for businesses like Ultimate Comics, Gill said they are excited to be on their way to normalcy again, but with an abundance of caution.

“It’ll be nice to see people showing up again,” Gill said.

For more information on the state’s modified order, click here.

For more information on Durham’s city/county order, click here.

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