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Northampton extends State of Emergency

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners extended their State of Emergency Declaration at a meeting here on May 21 conducted remotely to follow social distancing guidelines.

“The County Board of Commissioners have determined that a State of Emergency continues to exist in the County of Northampton,” said County Manager Charles Jackson as he read the declaration before it was voted on.

The contents of the declaration remain largely unchanged from when it was first introduced on March 16. The provisions of that declaration, which cover all areas within the jurisdiction of the county, stated that citizens are urged to conduct county business by phone or appointment and that county government will continue to operate while staff clean and sanitize facilities as necessary. Citizens are still urged to stay at home if possible, and law enforcement has the authority to enforce the provisions of the declaration.

A curfew was later added to the declaration effective on April 7, running daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The only exceptions for the curfew are those who were deemed “essential” under Governor Roy Cooper’s original stay at home order.

The newly amended declaration presented at Thursday’s meeting notes that the curfew will remain in effect through June 1.

The State of Emergency Declaration itself will remain in effect until modified or rescinded by the commissioners at a later date.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner motioned to approve the newest version of the declaration, and Commissioner Nicole Boone seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

In brief comments afterwards, all the commissioners as well as the county manager emphasized the importance of continuing to stay safe while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

“We’re concerned about the citizens of Northampton County, and we want to make sure we do everything to keep citizens safe,” said Commissioner Kelvin Edwards. “Safety is paramount.”

Jackson said he wanted to make sure both county staff and citizens were protected while continuing to take care of business.

“When you go into a store or any public place, please wear your mask,” he urged. “It’s just that simple. Wear your mask.”

Board Chair Charles Tyner continued to thank the county’s health department and first responders for their work so far in dealing with the pandemic situation. He also asked people to reach out if they needed help.

“We recognize that what we are facing in Northampton County is serious,” he continued. “Let us make sure we do all we can to make Northampton County safe.”