Guilford County Commissioners amend State of Emergency related to pickup and to-go orders at restaurants, bars

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The Guilford County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday night announced an amended State of Emergency as it pertains to indoor to-go ordering and pickup at restaurants and bars.

The commissioners released the following information:

Skip Alston, Chairman of the Guilford County’s Emergency Management and Public Health Department will continue to manage the local response to the COVID-19 outbreak under the standing State of Emergency, and City and County Law Enforcement agencies will still be tasked with enforcement, monitoring, education and compliance with the statewide order. Residents can find information on the State’s order through the County’s website www.guilfordcountync.gov, announced today that the County will modify its local State of Emergency to prohibit on premises, indoor patronage of restaurants and bars for to-go ordering and pickup after 10:00PM. On December 21st of 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 183, allowing restaurants and bars to expand their delivery and takeout services to include mixed beverages, as an alternative to on-site consumption past the 10:00PM curfew.

This exception is intended to allow many restaurants and bars the opportunity to increase revenue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has had the unintended consequence of allowing large groups of patrons to remain indoors at local restaurants past 10:00PM in order to place to-go orders. Law enforcement has reported issues stemming from this loophole that affect the community at large.

Alston stated that Guilford County has seen an increase in the spread of COVID-19, with a test positivity rate of 13% and rising in the community. According to Alston, opportunities for local businesses to generate revenue must be weighed against doing what is needed to limit the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 in the community. The decision to amend the County’s State of Emergency followed consultation with Alston’s fellow commissioners, members of the restaurant industry, law enforcement, and local municipalities.

This amendment clarifies that no on-premises, indoor patronage of restaurants and bars is allowed after 10:00PM, including to-go ordering and pickup. As of Friday, January 15th at 5:00PM, delivery, curbside pickup, and to-go ordering must remain outdoors.

Alston urged the citizens of Guilford County to remember that they can spread the virus even after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, and even when not displaying any symptoms. “This is still not the time for social gatherings and visits with others, including friends and extended family members,” Alston said, insisting that we are not yet out of the woods.

Guilford County’s Emergency Management and Public Health Department will continue to manage the local response to the COVID-19 outbreak under the standing State of Emergency, and City and County Law Enforcement agencies will still be tasked with enforcement, monitoring, education and compliance with the statewide order. Residents can find information on the State’s order through the County’s website www.guilfordcountync.gov.

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