‘Stop being selfish’: Gaston County neighbors under stay-at-home order beginning at 5p

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —  
There are 763 positive cases and three deaths associated with COVID-19 in North Carolina.

204 of those cases are being reported in Mecklenburg County where a stay at home order is now in effect.

Over in Gaston County, leaders say they don’t want to wait for the numbers to increase and that it’s time to start enforcing restrictions.

Gaston County leaders have an urgent message to neighbors: Stay inside.

This means stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. County leaders say if this order isn’t taken seriously more drastic measures will be taken.

“I think a lot of people need to stop being selfish and think about other people and now’s the time to do that,” County chairman Tracy Philbeck said. 

Come 5 p.m. Friday, the county’s stay at home order will go into effect. County leaders say they held off when neighboring counties ordered people to stay home but had to act today when the first case of COVID-19 from community spread was confirmed.

“The more that we can do to separate our citizens, increase social distancing the better our response and the impact on our community will be,” said Philbeck.

The order reduces the size of gatherings from 50 to 10 following earlier recommendations from the CDC. 

Philbeck says the goal is to be open for business and have people go to work so they can provide for their families.

“Go to your grocery store, pharmacy, carry-out restaurant, those are every day needs but other than that stay home.” 

County government employees will begin remote work Monday and as for county service. They will still be available online and over the phone. Non-essential employees are being placed on paid leave. 

“We can only go so far so after this we would basically have to lock everything down. We don’t have to do that if we would listen to these orders and abide by these orders.” 

The order will stay in place until April 16, but leaders warn the order could be extended. 

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