State urges New Hanover County to further enforce Covid restrictions

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Governor Cooper sent a letter to County Commissioners Wednesday, classifying New Hanover County as “an area of concern,” and asking leaders to consider additional local action.

But commissioners like Jonathan Barfield, Jr. are holding back, wary of further hurting small businesses and putting a strain on local law enforcement officers.

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“I don’t know if we’re going to have the appetite to go above and beyond what the Governor’s already mandated,” says Barfield. “To me, it’d be kind of hard to enforce and issue citations to individuals for not wearing masks. I also don’t know how we would do that with our law enforcement being stretched already as it is.”

Measures could include fining businesses that do not impose the mask order, reducing mass gathering numbers, ending the sale of alcohol earlier than 11 P.M., closing high risk venues, and further limiting restaurant service.

But New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte assures that, “That’s our last resort. We would like to get compliance from individuals to curb the spread particularly of the Coronavirus, and influenza….using the best practices and commons sense that have been prescribed over the past six months.”

Those measures? Wear your mask, wait and stay six feet apart from people outside your household, and wash your hands thoroughly and often.

“For me, by wearing a mask, by standing six feet apart, by washing my hands you know regularly,” Barfield explains, “I’m protecting myself number one….but I’m protecting those I care about and those I come into contact with.’