Enforcing tighter COVID-19 rules? Raleigh’s mayor weighs in

Wake County News

​RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As part of Monday’s COVID-19 task force news conference, Greensboro’s mayor talked about how she started stepping up enforcement over the weekend after key metrics took a turn for the worse.

So why haven’t cities in central North Carolina done that? CBS 17 spoke with Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.

Baldwin said she met with the city manager just hours after the governor’s press conference to discuss the next steps. They plan to turn their attention to retail stores. They had been focusing on bars and restaurants.

“People got a little lazy or tired,” Baldwin said.

She said fire marshals have teamed up with special events staff, paying surprise visits to bars and restaurants to ensure they follow the rules.

Back in June, several restaurants in the Glenwood South area received warning letters. She said they’ve since complied.

“With this first go-round, it will be education and voluntary compliance. We’re not going to start issuing citations yet,” Baldwin said.

CBS 17 asked if at some point the Raleigh Police Department would need to step in and help with enforcement.

“Well, the Raleigh Police Department has been really busy and we have not wanted to use them…When you bring in the police that sends a different message,” she explained.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said their focus will begin to shift from educating to enforcing.

“We’ll look at them and if we determine they are violations that need to be acted upon we will,” Baker said.

As for when or if citations could be issued, the mayor said “we’re going to see what happens this weekend.”

Baldwin said they would respond to retail stores where they’ve received complaints. The next steps will depend on what they see this weekend.

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