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Gaston County Commissioners Make 'Gaston Promise'

GASTONIA, N.C. –The Gaston County Board of Commissioners is making clear a key point on the day Gov. Cooper’s original Stay at Home order was set to expire: Gaston County is ready to get its people back to work.

Chairman Tracy Philbeck presented that case in a press conference Wednesday morning, stating that the one-size-fits-all approach Gov. Cooper continues to use for the COVID-19 crisis is now providing more harm than benefit for Gaston County.

“Our goal was to make sure our hospital system was not overwhelmed,” Philbeck said. “We’ve done that. Why punish us for being successful in flattening the curve when a strict Stay at Home order no longer makes sense for our county?”

Gaston County has been a leader in proactive measures in regard to COVID-19 – restricting the size of gatherings to a stronger degree than Mecklenburg County did originally and moving into its own Stay at Home order three days before Gov. Cooper made the same decision for the entire state.

Gaston County wants the ability to take those same proactive steps now, starting the process of re-opening the economy while continuing to enforce strict social distancing and sanitization guidelines.

To that end, the Commission has a one-page document entitled the “Gaston Promise.” It is the Board’s commitment to its residents, while also asking for a promise in return – that Gaston County citizens will continue the wise decision-making and adherence to social distancing practices that have helped prevent an unmanageable spike in COVID-19.

“We want to protect our citizens’ rights – to be able to work and not be left destitute by this crisis, and to worship freely together,” Philbeck said. “We know what’s ahead is a new normal, but it’s time to start working in that direction instead of huddling in fear.”

 Gaston County Phase I Reopening Order