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County Chairman Seeks Return to Local Control on April 30

GASTONIA, N.C. – Gaston County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper today, thanking the governor for his leadership during the COVID-19 crisis, while asking he consider returning Stay-At-Home decision making to the counties on April 30.

Gaston County leaders remain in full agreement for the need for the Stay-at-Home order through April 29 that was issued by Governor Cooper on March 30. It aligns almost exactly with the order issued in Gaston County three days before the governor’s.

But Philbeck said that as there are glimmers of hope about flattening the curve of the coronavirus, it makes sense to let individual counties decide the level of restrictions needed moving forward. Larger and more densely populated areas in Wake, Guilford and Mecklenburg counties may require a slower loosening of restrictions compared to what counties like Gaston may be able to allow.

Philbeck said any decision on loosening restrictions will be made in close consultation with county health officials, who in turn, work with local health system CaroMont Health, as well as analyzing data from state and federal sources.

“We still plan to limit gatherings, promote proper sanitation efforts, and mandate safe social distancing guidelines to help keep our citizens safe,” Philbeck wrote to Gov. Cooper on Thursday. “We can do this while also allowing our people to get back to work.”

Gaston County leaders continue to emphasize the need this month for residents to only travel for essential jobs or essential needs and otherwise to stay home.