WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Effective Friday at 5 p.m., Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines is ordering all city residents to stay home in light of “a significant and increasing number of suspected cases of community transmission and likely further significant increases in transmission” of the COVID-19 virus, according to a news release from the city. To view frequently asked questions about the order, click here. The order exempts essential businesses and services and lists the circumstances under which residents may venture out of their homes. City employees who provide essential services, as defined in the order, are also exempt. The order will be in effect through April 16 but notes that it will be reviewed regularly and may be amended as circumstances dictate. “All individuals currently living within the city of Winston-Salem are restricted to stay at their places of residence,” the order states. “All persons may leave their residences only for essential activities, essential governmental functions, to operate essential business (as defined below) or as otherwise defined.” Joines issued the order after conferring with local health care officials. The order notes that they “support immediate strict restrictions to slow down COVID-19’s spreading within the city of Winston-Salem in order to preserve precious supplies to treat those with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses and injuries.” Residents will be allowed to leave their homes: · For their health and safety, such as seeking medical services or obtaining medical supplies; · To purchases necessary supplies and services, including groceries and food, household consumer products and supplies they need to work from home; · To take care of others, including family members and friends; · To perform work providing essential products and services as defined in the order, including healthcare, essential government operations and essential infrastructure; and · For outdoor activity, including walking, hiking and cycling. Residents may visit city parks, but playgrounds have been ordered closed because they may increase the spread of the virus. The order lists 26 categories of essential businesses and services and states that they “are strongly encouraged to remain open.” However, they “must take proactive measures” to comply with social distancing guidelines and meet other requirements, including having separate operating hours for elderly and at-risk customers. The list of essential businesses includes grocery stores and pharmacies; gas stations; financial institutions; restaurants with take-out service; distribution, supply-chain and delivery businesses; transportation services; professional services; and child care providers that serve first responders and health care workers. The complete list of essential businesses, along with the full text of the order, is posted on the city website at CityofWS.org. The mayor’s order was issued as a 14-page amendment to the State of Emergency he issued March 13. The order also: · Prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people in public; · Closes “all places of public amusement”; and · Places new requirements on nursing homes, and long-term-care and assisted living facilities relating to staff and visitors. For complete information about the city’s response to COVID-19, go to CityofWS.org and click the Alerts bar at the top of the page.