Craven County commissioners have asked Gov. Roy Cooper to allow the county to relax restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 virus.

The letter was approved during the Board’s April 20 meeting.

“The Craven County Board of Commissioners are all strong advocates for public health and we all understand the importance of reviewing metrics and data collected locally to address the protection of our citizens,” the letter states.

“In the same manner as how we view public health we must also consider the extreme hardship placed on our local economy. As you are well aware, our local businesses, big and small, were still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence as the coronavirus pandemic hit. Hurricane Florence was a once in a generation storm that changed fundamentally how our county economy is structured. We have worked very hard as a local government to do everything within our power to position our county’s citizens in business in a manner to recover more quickly and robustly.”

The letter states that restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus “are having extreme detrimental effects on local economics.”

“We must understand very clearly the need for those restrictions and the very difficult balancing act in decision making that has taken place to protect our citizens. However, we are hearing from many Craven County citizens and their desire to have a descriptive pathway to normalcy. The Craven County Board of Commissioners very much agree(s) with the desire expressed by our citizens and we encourage you to reopen North Carolina while providing clear guidance or control to local county’s to best judge further or future restrictions.”

The Commissioners’ decisions on reopening would be based on “local data, metrics and expertise that we develop specific to our county.”

“We believe the pain and suffering that is being caused by the stay at home and close business order is immense and will get worse with every passing day. Businesses that will never reopen, jobs lost forever, domestic violence uptick, increased depression and increased suicides are all a result of the shutdown,” Commissioner Dennis Bucher told the New Bern Sun Journal. “We need to get people back to work and get our businesses open as soon as possible. We are hopeful that the Governor will recognize that Craven County is not Charlotte and the one policy fits all is not good policy.”

Craven County’s COVID-19 numbers have not increased since last week. It is not know whether this is due to a “flattening of the curve” or a backlog of testing.


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