The Moore County Commissioners meeting in a special commissioners' court Thursday afternoon voted unanimously to pass a new declaration of disaster for the county that will end both the youth curfew and the requirement that people entering buildings with public access wear masks. The two measures were enacted over the last several weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the county and protect workers in groceries and other businesses deemed essential. They will end at 12:00 am on Friday, May 1.
The new declaration replaces the declaration that was passed originally in March and amended April 3 after the governor issued his March 31 stay-at-home order. That amended declaration included the youth curfew. The curfew prohibited persons under 18 from being out in public, except to work, after 10:00 pm. The declaration was further amended on April 21 to include the requirement that every person above the age of five entering a building with public access wear a covering over the nose and mouth. The requirement carried a penalty of a fine up to $1000. It was enacted as Moore County was recording a large number of coronavirus cases. It was set to expire May 2. The new declaration expires May 30.
According to Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades, the new declaration reflects the governor's most recent executive order which relaxes some of the social distancing requirements imposed in his March 31 stay-at-home order. The new order, among other things, allows retail businesses, restaurants, museums, libraries and some other entities to reopen for "in-store" business at 25 percent of capacity.
According to Tommy Brooks, Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator, because the governor's March 13 state declaration of disaster and subsequent executive orders supersede those of local entities, the primary need for a local declaration of disaster in Moore County is to make the county eligible for federal relief money should it become available.