WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo signed a proclamation Friday to extend the local stay-at-home order until May 15, while lifting some restrictions and modifying others.
These changes are not a wholesale lift of Wilmington’s restrictions, but it does ease some of them as Saffo says they want to take a careful approach to re opening.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the future of Wilmington, but if we get this wrong and move too quickly lives could be lost and that’s not a risk we’re willing to take," Saffo said.
Short term rentals will be allowed to open, but hotels and motels will remain closed, except for essential workers.
Amusement locations like playgrounds, country clubs, bowling alleys and the like remain closed. Also, dressing rooms at retailers will be closed.
Car dealerships still have restrictions in place, but they are more relaxed — the wait time between test drives has been reduced to just four hours with full cleaning between drivers.
Saffo said the city has been taking guidance from the state, and made the decisions with the advice of public health officials. City leaders will review plans on a weekly basis.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order earlier this week that will move the state into “phase one” of reopening starting May 8 at 5 p.m.
Phase one removes the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses and allows retail businesses to open at 50 percent capacity while observing physical distancing guidelines, extra cleaning protocols and screening employees.
The order allows people to leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open. Certain businesses remain closed, including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-through, take out and delivery.
“This is our first step forward on the path to normalcy, but that doesn’t mean we should stop social distancing or washing our hands (please, please continue to wash your hands even after this pandemic ends!)” the City of Wilmington posted on Facebook. “We must stay vigilant as we continue this fight against COVID-19.”