The mayors of Wilkes County’s three towns jointly issued a press release urging local residents to stay at home as much as possible and be diligent in following recommended practices when out in public as the second phase of eased COVID-19-related restrictions starts at 5 p.m. Friday.

“To protect the health and welfare of residents and accelerate the timetable for full reopening, the leaders of the towns of Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro and Ronda unanimously and unequivocally urge all residents to remain diligent by staying at home when able and taking protective measures when going out in public,” jointly stated Wilkesboro Mayor Mike Inscore, North Wilkesboro Mayor Robert Johnson and Ronda Mayor Victor Varela.

They also noted that business are legally permitted to impose additional protective requirements on the public.

Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard joined the mayors by stating, “Please limit nonessential trips and practice the 3 Ws: wait six feet apart, wear a mask, and wash hands frequently. We know that community transmission is still happening and these practices not only protect you but others as well. These actions will help us break the chain of transmission.”

The press release said phase two was based on stability in the state’s health indicators.

“Statewide testing has increased, whereas percentage of positive cases was level. Stockpiles of personal protective equipment are improving. Hospitals have available capacity. The curve is flattening across the state,” it added.

“However, trends in Wilkes County are not as stable. Wilkes County’s case count is over 450, meaning the county has one of the highest per capita rates of infection in the state. Community spread is occurring, which means the virus can be transmitted unknowingly by a carrier without symptoms, endangering anyone going out in public.

“Positive cases have been identified in seniors and children, the area’s most vulnerable populations. The county does not meet the guidelines for reopening as expressed by Gov. Roy Cooper and the White House.

Ronda Mayor Victor Varela. “Even though restrictions have been eased it's important to remember that the threat of infection from COVID-19 and its spread is still real and that the only sure way to prevent this is to continue to shelter in place if at all possible.”

North Wilkesboro Mayor Robert Johnson asked area residents “to err on the side of safety rather than on the side of sickness or death.” He added “I don’t want to lose all the progress we’ve made from our sacrifices so far. We can make more changes as things get better.”

Wilkesboro Mayor Mike Inscore said, “We can contain the virus if we follow these guidelines. Let’s be vigilant so our lives can resume normalcy.”

Cooper signed executive order 141 on Wednesday, moving the state into phase two of its pandemic recovery. This phase replaces his “stay at home” order with a “safer at home” approach, and permits the gradual reopening of some sectors of the state’s economy with protective measures in place.

Information on the details of the Executive Order are available at the at https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/Phase-2-FAQ.pdf. The full order may be viewed  at https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO141-Phase-2.pdf

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