Durham mayor issues ‘stay at home’ order amid coronavirus pandemic

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham city leaders on Wednesday issued a “stay at home” order for the city to slow COVID-19 community spread.

“This was not an easy decision to make but it was a necessary decision,” Mayor Steve Schewel said.

The stay-at-home order calls for all businesses except those that are considered essential to close.

Essential businesses under this order include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, media organizations, funeral homes, and child care centers.

People are allowed to go outside for walking, hiking, running, biking, golfing and playing tennis.

Golfing and tennis can only be played if there is social distancing.

“I am concerned about this,” Schewel said of the golfing and tennis. “We will be monitoring this.”

He said he knows the stay-at-home order will cause hardships.

“These are agonizing decisions, not ones I was expecting to make when I was elected as mayor,” Schewel said.

The mayor’s announcement comes as North Carolina reports 504 cases of COVID-19. A total of 74 of those are in Durham County.

“If we are going to stop the spread of the virus, this is our window,” Schewel said.

A similar order for the county is expected in the coming days, the mayor said.

Durham has a reported 74 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday morning.

A stay-at-home order was issued for Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, on Tuesday.

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