Local & State
|Mayor Lyles: Local government will need to aid COVID-19 recovery|
|City has role to play in providing help|
|Published Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:25 pm|
|PHOTO | DAVID FLOWER|
|Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles addressed community concerns about COVID-19 and Mecklenburg County's stay at home order at a virtual press conference Wednesday.|
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles’s objectives are to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and find a new normal on the other side of the global pandemic.
As of March 25, the Mecklenburg County Health Department has reported 170 COVID-19 cases.
Mayor Lyles spoke with members of the media through a virtual press conference, addressing community concerns, as well as what the three-week stay at home order entails. The stay-at-home order goes into effect on March 26 at 8 a.m., and concludes on April 16 at midnight. However, essential services may continue to perform their duties, which are:
1) Supermarkets and pharmacies
2) Food, beverage and agriculture
3) Charitable and social services organizations
5) Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
6) Financial institutions
7) Hardware and supply stores
8) Critical trades such as building and construction, plumbers, electricians, cleaning and janitorial staff
9) Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
10) Education institutions
11) Laundry services
12) Restaurants for off-premises consumption
13) Supplies to work from home
14) Supplies for essential businesses and operations
16) Home-based care and services
17) Residential facilities and shelters
18) Professional services [legal, accounting, insurance, real estate services restricted to appraisal and title service]
19) Childcare centers
20) Manufacture, distribution and supply chain
21) Hotels and motels
22) Funeral services
Individuals going to work do not need a permit or authorized note.
The stay-at-home order, in addition to other local and state orders closed a number of businesses, many of which are small businesses. Lyles noted the role of small businesses in Charlotte, stating they hire over 70 percent of the workforce. She stressed the importance of looking toward the federal government’s stimulus package to provide support, and local government stepping in to fill unmet needs.
“I think the most important thing we have to continue to do is to lobby at the federal level for the stimulus package, and make sure that stimulus package includes small businesses,” Lyles said. “I think we have to go a little bit further. This is a new normal for us, and we’re looking very closely at what local funding we can have to supplement anything that stimulus package provides. It’s something different, but I think the time that we are in is requiring us to do something different. Look for that in the next couple of days. As soon as we find out what the federal package will do, we’ll examine it for gaps and try to close those gaps.”
Contingency planning is being developed should the pandemic escalate.
“We’re staffing for regular processes now with police and fire, and I want to say thanks to them for all they’re doing, as well as thinking about contingency just in case the next three weeks don’t work to flatten the curve.”
Lyles noted the involvement of Atrium Health and Novant Health, the area’s leading medical providers, throughout the pandemic. A letter from Atrium and Novant Health was included in the 16-page stay-at-home order issued by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management on March 24.
“[Novant and Atrium] are actively participating in every policy decision being made in Mecklenburg County,” Lyles said.
Shortages of supplies for hospitals have become a concern across the country. Lyles cited decisions on items such as respirators, ventilators and masks as national issues.
“What we’re doing is monitoring and working with our federal delegation and the White House to make sure that they are supporting the efforts that we have locally here in Charlotte,” Lyles said.
Charlotte is scheduled to host the Republican National Convention in August, but no one knows what either major party convention will look like, nor how the summer will unfold. The RNC updated its media walkthrough scheduled for April 15 at Spectrum Center to a tele-town hall.
Lyles considers her actions during COVID-19 as an attempt to lead by example by social distancing as a mother and a grandmother, but still connecting. Rather than physically spending time with her family she sees them via Facetime and other digital methods. As a civic leader, she said she will hold virtual press conferences as often as necessary.
“I will be doing as much as is needed so that we can maintain what I call the connection between community,” Lyles said.
Lyles has not been tested for COVID-19, indicating that she has not shown any symptoms, and does not want to take a test away from someone who needs it.
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