Durham Mayor Steve Schewel will issue a stay-at-home order at a Wednesday morning press conference, a City Hall source confirms. 

Last week, Schewel closed gyms, theaters, and rec centers as part of an effort to expand social-distancing efforts within the city. But he also lobbied the governor’s office to declare a statewide stay-at-home order, as governors have done in Washington, New York, and California. 

“I have been in regular touch with the governor’s staff, and I am urging the governor to issue a statewide shelter in place order. Reading about the lost opportunity to act early in Italy, and its devastating consequences, is very sobering,” Schewel told the INDY in a text message on Sunday. “Ideally, a shelter in place order should be a statewide or regional order. It is very hard to do locally because so many people are driving into Durham from all over the region every morning. Depending upon the governor’s actions on Monday, I may need to issue further local mandates as well, and I will not hesitate to do so to keep Durham safe.”

In an email to a constituent on Sunday morning, Schewel expressed similar thoughts: “If we do not get this guidance from the governor in the next couple of days, I will make more decisions to keep Durham safe, as I did last week by shutting theaters, rec centers, gyms, and fitness centers. Today I drove to Wheels where there were birthday parties going on and no social distancing. I am concerned about this kind of gathering as well as nail salons, spas, hair salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal care businesses of that nature where people are in very close physical contact. We cannot let this continue. Depending on the governor’s actions on Sunday or Monday, I may need to issue more local mandates, and I will definitely do so.”

At a press conference on Monday, Governor Cooper extended school closures until May 15 and closed additional businesses where social distancing is difficult, but he did not issue a stay-at-home order. Schewel evidently decided further action was warranted. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the stay-at-home order will say—different jurisdictions define the term differently—although it might look like the one Mecklenburg County put in place earlier today.

Per The Charlotte Observer: “Public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are banned under Mecklenburg’s order, superseding a prior directive that limited gatherings to 50 individuals. Certain businesses—grocery stores and pharmacies, for example—are permitted to stay open. The proclamation permits ‘leaving the home for essential activities,’ which includes seeking medical care or going to care for a friend or loved one.”

Here are the conditions under which Mecklenburg’s order allows you to leave your home. 

This is a developing story. 

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at jbillman@indyweek.com. 

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One reply on “Durham Mayor Steve Schewel to Issue Stay-at-Home Order”

  1. I’m happy to see such swift, responsible action being taken by the Durham City Government regarding this virus. When this is all over, I hope they take advantage of their newfound ability to “keep Durham safe” to actually do something about the constant shootings in his town.

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