Beginning at 5:00pm today (Monday), a statewide Stay at Home Order takes effect. Governor Roy Cooper is implementing the order in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Citizens will still be allowed to leave their homes but only for essentials including food, medicine, work, exercise and to help others. The order will remain in place for 30 days, until April 29, 2020.
Local town leaders say it’s important to adhere to the order, maintain social distancing, and work together during this time of crisis.
“As the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the United States, I fully understand the need for the order, but I am extremely concerned about the impact on our small businesses, which are the backbones of municipalities all over North Carolina,” stated Smithfield Mayor Andy Moore. “I encourage our citizens to stay at home, follow Governor Cooper’s recommendations, and to maintain appropriate social distancing. To the extent possible, and while following the provisions of Executive Order 121 and the recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, I encourage citizens to support our businesses that may remain open throughout this time. I pray for those impacted by this nasty virus and I hope that it runs its course soon so that things begin to get back to normal as quickly as possible in our town. The stay at home order is intended to help everyone remain safe and I encourage our citizens to take advantage of the increased family time that is now available to many. Together we will get through this.”
Smithfield Town Manager Mike Scott added, “As we work through this pandemic it is imperative that municipal, county, state and federal organizations work together to curb the expansion of this virus to the extent it is possible. As always we will, as a Town government, do everything we can to continue providing town services, control crime and take a common sense approach managing the responsibility of town governance for our citizens. We will work with the County, other municipalities, the District Attorney’s Office, and the court system to provide a unified approach to any enforcement that becomes necessary so our citizens are treated similarly throughout the County. We will work hard to support all our essential services and work to keep our employees and emergency and medical care professionals as safe as possible during this time.”
Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said, “With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in NC, it is understandable why the Governor issued a Stay At Home Order. Physically distancing ourselves from others for a moment in time is the best way to stem the spread of this virus. While this can be stressful in a variety of ways, it can save lives and lessen the overall impact of the pandemic. Citizens in Selma and throughout Johnston County have always done what is necessary to meet challenges that have come our way. Because of that, I believe that our citizens and businesses will comply with this Order. Even prior to the Order being issued, there has been a noticeable decrease of traffic in our area. The Town of Selma will continue to provide essential services to our citizens. As always, our first responders are ready to respond to any emergency situations that should arise. Everyone is eager to exit pandemic mode. Doing what we need to do immediately will speed the return of normalcy in our personal and business lives.”
In Benson, officials said the 30-day order will certainly add additional stress in these uncertain times for not only our residents but our local businesses as well. However, the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people that make Benson what it is — the best small town in North Carolina — remains our top concern.
“As we’ve said many times, our top priority is the safety of our residents. This Order has been deemed necessary on a statewide level and the Town of Benson is in full cooperation for the wellbeing of our populous,” said Town Manager Fred Nelson.
“We fully understand the difficulties that our residents and businesses are facing during this time. We look forward to a time when quarantines and stay-at-home orders are a thing of the past and we hope by following this Order — no matter how stressful — will ensure that we see that sooner rather than later,” added Mr. Nelson.
Johnston County at large have been fortunate to have not experienced the tumultuous and chaotic scenes witnessed in other areas of the United States and the world.
For more information about health recommendations and who is designated at high risk for becoming seriously ill, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.