RALEIGH – Wake County, with over a million residents and home to the state capital in Raleigh, let it’s Stay-at-Home order expire Thursday. Though, don’t get too excited if you’re a Wake County resident; they may have allowed the county order to lapse, but only to follow the extended statewide orders from Governor Roy Cooper.
The move means the rules in the county will be less restrictive than before, but that is relative. Wake County’s order banned all gatherings, except for households, and church services were banned. The statewide order still limits gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, but they’ll let 50 people assemble for a funeral, and churches can do drive-thru services, or hold services if there are 10 people or less in the congregation.
This all still qualifies as overreach, only slightly less egregious.
What about the other changes for businesses? Here’s a run down from the Raleigh News & Observer:
“[…] Wake County’s original stay-at-home ordinance had a stricter definition of essential businesses.
The state’s stay-at-home order lists “businesses that meet social distancing requirements” as essential.
That means bookstores, clothing shops and other retailers will be able to reopen in Wake County as long as they follow social distancing.
The state’s order also says stores are limited to 20% of their stated fire capacity, or they can have five people per 1,000 square feet.
When counties have the same order as the state, it is easier for businesses as they try to reopen and operate during the pandemic, said Andy Ellen, president of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association. […]”
Uniformity of authoritarianism does make it easier to please the crown, doesn’t it? The order still says resident “must” stay home, but for essential travel like getting food or exercising. A couple days of essential travel around the county, however, will leave no doubt that many people are seeing fit to ignore these draconian orders.
But residents may not be covered under this relative relaxation of the rules, being that county commission only has jurisdiction over the unincorporated portions of the county and some towns (Apex) have not signed onto the changes. The state capital of Raleigh has signed on.
Within the context of the extended statewide order, this action does little to provide relief or certainty. Governor Cooper extended the Stay-at-Home order until May 8, but that date is only a starting point from which to consider a phased release of citizens from the grip of his executive edicts.
Therefore, the push to reopen North Carolina now, with the discretion afforded the 10 million individual citizens of this state instead of one authoritarian governor, is as needed as ever.