Wake County issues new restrictions to slow spread of COVID-19

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – According to a press release from Wake County officials, Wake County is implementing new restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent local healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.

The new restrictions were announced the day after the county reported 17 new coronavirus cases — the largest one-day increase since the crisis began.

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford today signed a new State of Emergency Declaration. The declaration requires some types of businesses to close, prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more, change visitation practices at nursing homes and restrict the use of playground equipment at local parks.

“This is a challenging time, and it requires us to make difficult decisions to keep Wake County residents safe,” said Chairman Ford. “Our hope is that these new restrictions will maximize opportunities for the public to practice social distancing, which should help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Restrictions specific to nursing homes and similar facilities go into effect immediately. All other restrictions go into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 23. The new restrictions will last until April 30.

They include:

  • Closing fitness clubs, gyms, hair and nail salons, spas, tanning, massage, and tattoo salons, and other professional grooming services;
     
  • Cancelling mass gatherings of 50 or more people (which includes both staff and patrons). This does not include organizations that provide critical services like hospitals, government operations and financial institutions. It also excludes retailers that provide essentials goods like grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores and hardware stores;
     
  • Requiring nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers to cease group activities that don’t allow for social distancing. Residents can only have one adult visitor per day, unless it is an end-of-life situation, and the visitor must be screened for:
    • fever of 100.4-degrees or higher,
    • a cough and
    • difficulty breathing before they can enter the building; 
  • Prohibiting the use of playground equipment at public and private parks. This does not include backyard playgrounds or other amenities such as greenways and walking trails; and
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  • Recommendations that retail businesses screen their employees and customers for fever and respiratory illness before they enter the facility and turn away those who are sick.

“We are not at the point yet where we feel a stay-at-home order is necessary,” said Wake County Manager David Ellis. “We hope that these new restrictions will achieve our goals of limiting the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the capacity our healthcare system to serve our residents, so we don’t have to take that step.”

The county has set up a dedicated phone line to address business-specific questions: 919-856-7420.

Click  here for additional FAQs.

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