MATTHEWS – The Matthews Board of Commissioners is prepared to send a letter to Mecklenburg County on April 28 asking leaders to adopt North Carolina’s less restrictive stay-at-home order.
Mecklenburg County’s stay-at-home order went into effect March 26. The state’s order followed four days later. The county’s order has tighter restrictions than the state’s.
Mayor John Higdon said he has received a lot of calls and emails from small businesses that are on the verge of closing and never opening again. Meanwhile, a lot of big box stores continue operating and selling the same items as smaller retailers.
He said his intent was not to liberate North Carolina or open all businesses but to follow the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“I think it’s time now that we allow some of our businesses that can operate safely to operate,” Higdon said.
Commissioners discussed on April 27 sending the following letter to County Manager Dena Diorio:
Matthews would like to thank you for your leadership in guiding our county during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We also appreciate your guidance as the county, city and towns work through beginning to lift certain restrictions while balancing the health risks that exist with COVID-19.
As such, we believe that the county, city and towns have done a great job in flattening the curve and respectfully request that we align completely with the governor’s State of Emergency Declaration on March 30, 2020 and all Executive Orders since issued or to be issued related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We request this take effect on April 30, 2020.
Higdon suggested they wait to send the letter until after county commissioners convene to see if county leaders come up with a compromise on their own.
Higdon and commissioners Dave Bland, John Urban and Jeff Miller supported the idea of sending the letter. Commissioners Renee Garner, Ken McCool and Larry Whitley opposed it.
Garner said Matthews doesn’t have the same level of health data that the county has.
She also mentioned how she saw a group of males playing football in a park without following social distancing or wearing masks. She said the town may have to ramp up enforcement if more retailers resume business operations.