Wilmington orders extended again, some restrictions lifted

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo extended the city's state of emergency until May 22 (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo extended the city’s state of emergency again on Friday.

Restrictions like dressing rooms being closed and auto and boat dealerships following extensive protocols are still in place.

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But country clubs and social clubs can now reopen, as long as they follow Governor Cooper’s order to not gather in groups more than 10.

Outdoor sports facilities like basketball and volleyball courts can now reopen for 2 on 2 games.

Hotels and motels can begin to reopen, operating at 25% capacity.

Saffo says he is comfortable lifting these restrictions because the trends are good, but he is still making sure to be careful.

“​The numbers look good right now,” Saffo said. “We feel confident that we’re moving in the right direction and how we’re reopening our economy and reopening our community. But again, we are cautiously optimistic about this.”

But with hurricane season on the horizon, Mayor Saffo says the pandemic is going to make that even more challenging this year.

He says financially the city is prepared to handle it, but there are other concerns.

“How do we work in the Emergency Operations Center in that close proximity with this pandemic that we’re going to be dealing with?” Saffo said. “How do we move people out of the area to possible hotels or shelters in a close confined area and do it in such a way that you’re protecting the public health of those individuals that need sheltering?”

He says his number one priority is the health and well-being of the citizens of Wilmington.

“I’m getting calls from people on one side to tell me that we’re opening too fast, and I have others telling me that we’re not opening fast enough,” Saffo said. “This is a no-win situation for somebody that sits in my particular seat, but I’m going to make the tough decisions. That’s what I got elected to do.”

The new state of emergency will last until May 22 at 5pm.