A stay-at-home order issued Friday by Gov. Roy Cooper takes effect today, Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m., and will last for the next 30 days. This order was issued to slow the spread of COVID-19, and applies to all municipalities in North Carolina, including the City of Morganton.
Residents can still go to grocery and convenience stores, seek medicines or medical care, order take-out from restaurants, bike, hike and jog, care for loved ones in other households and tend to the needs of pets, but please do not go out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.
The order requires that anyone traveling for an essential purpose maintain six feet of distance from other people when in public, and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
The executive order details which businesses and operations, as well as which types of travel, are considered essential. Employees of essential businesses will be allowed to continue to report to work for the duration of the stay-at-home order. A violation of the order is punishable as a class 2 misdemeanor. You can read the full executive order and list of essential businesses here: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3.pdf.
“The most important things for citizens of Morganton to do now is stay home, do not go out in public unless you absolutely have to, and keep your distance from other people until this order is lifted,” said Mayor Ronnie Thompson. “If you or a member of your family is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, you should not go out in public under any circumstances.”
Some City of Morganton employees continue to report to work to provide necessary City services, but additional changes have been made. Operations and projects are being evaluated to determine what functions will be ceased, reduced, or re-prioritized.
In an effort to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, our employees are sheltering at home as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when reporting to work. Staffing levels and work schedules have been modified to minimize the number of people in City facilities and to encourage City employees to adhere to the order. Departments are placing employees on rotating schedules to decrease contact between employees and reduce the chances of spreading the virus. Additional emergency paid time off has been granted to all full time and permanent part time employees to help maintain earnings during the operational slowdown.
Citizens can rest assured they will still receive all essential City services. The City’s Utilities, Streets, Public Safety, and Sanitation departments all continue to operate as normal.
“We understand the inconvenience placed on citizens by this order, but we cannot stress its importance enough,” Thompson said. “We must all follow the rules created by the stay-at-home order in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The more we all follow the order, the more likely it is we can get back to our normal routines sooner rather than later.”
We know the onset of COVID-19 brings a great deal of uncertainty with it, and creates many changes in our daily lives. The City is doing everything we can to ease the burden on our citizens and businesses, and to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Staff continue to work hard to carry out City business and deliver the same high quality services our citizens are accustomed to in this trying time. Together, we can get through this.
We ask everyone to keep our healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential employees on the front line of this crisis in their thoughts.
For more information, or to conduct business with the City while City facilities are closed, call 828-437-8863 or visit morgantonnc.gov.