Governor Roy Cooper today issued a 30-day, statewide stay-at-home order for North Carolina, effective at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30. The NC Chamber supports this decision and is prepared to assist the business community in understanding how best to comply.
Consistent with my comments last week, I have tremendous confidence in the steady hands steering our state’s COVID-19 response. Governor Cooper and his team, including N.C. Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, N.C. DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, and State Health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson, and their colleagues, have shown tremendous leadership. They have determined, due to the number of North Carolinians still gathering in non-essential businesses, that the time has come for the last resort. We trust and respect their decision.
The debate around shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders has intensified in the last week; the NC Chamber has worked hard to be thoughtful, reasoned and clear on behalf of the business community. A stay-at-home order must be executed with clear expectations providing the needed certainty to protect people and their livelihood — your businesses. Our dialogue on this point with the Governor and his Administration has been open, honest and productive. We appreciate their willingness to listen, engage and recognize the position of North Carolina’s many and varied employers.
Our understanding of the order is that there is thoughtful, careful interpretation of the “essential business” definition. Reviewing the order provides the best insight as to whether your business is covered. Those deemed essential businesses will not need any extra credential or permit to comply with the statewide order. We are available to help answer your questions.
One of the issues for which we advocated was uniformity. Many have expressed concerns regarding the confusion created by the patchwork of local orders, how to find them, and how to ensure compliance. Governor Cooper addressed local orders in his remarks today and made clear that in areas where there is also a local order in place, the more restrictive of the two will take precedent. In our effort to provide you with timely resources needed to assure compliance, we have created a library of all local orders here with context on the type of order, effective dates, definition of “essential”, and enforcement measures.
The NC Chamber’s position regarding a statewide order has been largely twofold. We believe the order should be: (i) data-driven; and (ii) provide guidelines for its resolution. We have clear direction on the latter and have sought specific guidance on what criteria we should measure indicating what is happening with the virus. We see opportunities for improvement in that dimension. Thankfully, we have the relationships to have those discussions and are presently doing so. I look forward to sharing more soon.
These are uncertain times. Our team is proud to represent and advocate for you and your people. We are all in this together. Please take a moment to review the stories being shared on our See the Good page. It will lift your spirits to see the incredible ways our state’s business community is coalescing.
We will get through this. Until then, please continue to connect with me and with our team to let us know what you need.
Gary J. Salamido
President and CEO