Durham will soon join cities, counties and states around the country in issuing a “stay at home” order to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Durham Mayor Steve Schewel will hold a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. announcing the order, according to a City of Durham news release. Durham County has reported 74 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, a total that has nearly doubled since Friday and is close to the most of any county in the state. Of those 74, 26 are members of the Duke community.
No details on specifics of the order and when it will go into effect were divulged in the release.
Schewel had expressed reluctance to issue a local “stay at home” order at a news conference Friday, saying a local “stay at home” policy as opposed to a statewide order would not be very effective, as people drive in and out of Durham every day. Gov. Roy Cooper has not yet ordered any “stay at home” policy, but Mecklenburg County, which has been ravaged by the virus, announced a “stay at home” order Tuesday that will go into effect Thursday morning.
On Friday, Schewel stressed the value of taking swift action.
“Societies that have most effectively fought coronavirus have acted early,” he said.
Mecklenburg County’s “stay at home” order will ban gatherings of more than 10 people but will leave essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies open. It will be implemented for three weeks.
The order allows leaving the home to get supplies, exercise outdoors, care for others, engage in "essential" work, or for health reasons.