Johnston Commissioners Weigh In On Governor’s Stay At Home Order

SMITHFIELD – On Tuesday, Wayne County Commissioners sent to letter to Governor Roy Cooper expressing their concerns about the stay at home order and its negative impact on the economy and many small businesses.

We reached out to Johnston County Commissioner Chairman Ted Godwin of Selma to see if they also planned to send a letter to the Governor.   Chairman Godwin said he was still polling the board to see what they wished to do, but he plans to send a personal letter to Cooper regardless of what the full board decides to do.

“I am planning to send a letter, as a concerned citizen.  I am planning to pole the board to see if we can get consensus to send a request. I know that everyone on the board does not feel the same way I do, and I respect that. I’m not going to request the governor to take action on behalf of the board unless we have majority concurrence,” Godwin said in an email.

“I personally believe that many actions taken by the governor, while well-intentioned, are not constitutional. I believe in freedom. Sometimes that may be freedom to do things that are seen as too risky by most people. But that’s an individual’s choice. I fear that the power grab by the government in times like these are never properly reversed.  By week’s end, I hope to have a direction established.”

Commissioner Tony Braswell of Pine Level, who operates a small business in Four Oaks, said Wednesday, “First of all I understand everyone’s concerns and frustration because of this unprecedented way of life in this country and county. It makes no sense to me how the big box stores can operate with the number of people they put in their stores. I would like to see barber shops, hair dressers, gyms, retail stores operate under the restrictions that allow others to be open. Walmart is open to sell clothes, but the pottery looks like a ghost town.”

“I hope the Governor would give some relief to others, that would balance safety and individual needs. The number of cases of Covid-19 continues to rise here in the county, so we need to be aware that we have not yet reached our peak. I believe we should still seek guidance from our Public Health and our Emergency Management professionals on how we should proceed in the future. I urge the citizens to be safe and continue to maintain social distance. We are all in this together and this too shall pass.”

Commissioner Patrick Harris who operates a small business in Smithfield said, “During the past week, I have heard from multiple citizens and their concerns about continuing the stay at home order.  This has been a difficult situation for everyone and will certainly take time for our society to return to some type of normalcy.  Having spent the greater part of the last month educating and informing the public on the dangers and the precautions necessary to stay safe, I believe that people are ready to get on with their lives as best they can.”

“The public’s safety is and always will be most important, but I believe that our citizens are smart and can make these decisions for themselves.  It is time for a plan to be outlined to begin (even if it is with precautions) to restart our economy and allow our citizens to get back to work.  I have been in close contact with families that haven’t seen a paycheck in a month and can’t get through all the red tape to file for unemployment.  Business owners that haven’t seen a penny of SBA money to help them stay afloat.”

“I think that if people don’t feel safe going out in public just yet, then that is okay.  Those that want to go out and get back to work and business then that should be okay as well but let those decisions be the people’s choice, not the government’s,” Harris added.