WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Council extended the city’s state of emergency declaration and stay-at-home restrictions Tuesday night, further adjusting their coronavirus response in light of Governor Roy Cooper’s path forward.
Mayor Bill Saffo said the city has been taking guidance from the state, and will adjust the local order accordingly, keeping in mind the need to maintain public safety while also getting local businesses back on track.
“We’ve got to start thinking about ways to reopening up our businesses, but do it in a way that people feel confident and feel safe,” Saffo said ahead of the meeting.
To abide by social distancing guidelines themselves, the council met mostly virtually, with only couple of council members and a handful of city staff meeting in person at the Wilmington Convention Center.
The extended order keeps in place through May 8 at 5 p.m. the restrictions that go above and beyond the statewide order, namely the continued closure of hotels, motels and short term rentals, as well as playgrounds, amusement facilities and car dealerships that don’t abide by strict policies.
City Attorney John Joye said he was still going through the governor’s new order, and he will evaluate the legal ramifications for Wilmington in the coming days.
Mayor Saffo said he plans to discuss any further steps or continued restrictions after North Carolina enters “Phase 1” of reopening in the coming two days.
In addition to the local order, council members got an update on the city’s budget, which stands to see significant effects from the virus as the city readies for an expected drop in tax revenue.