Charlotte Police To Enforce Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order

Kimberly Johnson

This article originally appeared on the Charlotte Patch

CHARLOTTE, NC — Mecklenburg County’s stay-at-home order, put in place to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus, went into effect for the entire county Thursday morning, and will be enforced by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The order went into effect March 26 at 8 a.m. and will be in place until April 16.

As of Thursday morning, there were at least 625 cases and two deaths reported in North Carolina, 170 of which in Mecklenburg County, according to Johns Hopkins.

“This order directs all Mecklenburg County residents to shelter at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs,” the City of Charlotte said in making the announcement earlier in the week. “This order is valid through April 16, 2020, but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and may be revised, amended, or extended accordingly, based upon recommendations by the Mecklenburg County Public Health Director and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management.”

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus: NC Treasurer Tests Positive, No State Lockdown Yet

Essential activities include those related to health and safety; to get necessary supplies; for outdoor activities, such as walking or running; for work for essential businesses and to take care of others, say county officials.

The new order also comes with an enforcement component, CMPD said.

“Our job is to enforce this declaration here at CMPD, and we will. We will do it respectfully,” CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said Thursday morning. “We will do it professionally. Right now we’re encouraged because we’ve been dealing with this for weeks and we’re getting voluntary compliance. We don’t expect that to change.”

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Police leadership say enforcement efforts will be focused on seeking voluntary compliance.

“The department does have the authority to issue citations or make misdemeanor arrests if all other efforts of voluntary efforts fail,” said CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes.

“Let me be clear, officers will not be proactively stopping motorists or people to ask where they’re going, what their plans are, where they have been or where they work,” Estes said. “We won’t be coordinating check points on the roadways to question people about their activities. Our enforcement efforts will be complaint driven,” he said.

County residents can make complaints online at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department website, or by calling 3-1-1.
Here’s what the City of Charlotte says about the Stay-at-home order:

YOU CAN

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Visiting a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise – just keep at least six feet between you and others
  • Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

YOU SHOULD NOT

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites
  • Travel except for essential travel and activities

What is the difference between "Stay at Home" and "social distancing"? Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing.

Stay at home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather in groups

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