Newton, NC — With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, the City of Newton encourages all residents to protect their health during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
North Carolina’s March 10 declaration of a State of Emergency remains in effect. Eight months into the pandemic, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Catawba County Public Health are reporting troubling spikes of new cases in our community. Catawba County has documented more than 6,000 cases and more than 80 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Since Nov. 5, Catawba County has seen the number of new daily cases surpass 100 six times, the highest daily increases recorded here during the pandemic. Studies show that increases in hospitalizations and deaths follow increases in case counts similar to what we are experiencing today. Our most vulnerable neighbors—older adults, people with preexisting conditions, and people of color—are being hit the hardest.
N.C. General Statutes outline the City of Newton’s responsibility for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. City staff and elected officials take this responsibility seriously and understand that the best way to hasten the end of the pandemic is to follow guidance from public health professionals. Following public health guidance, today will protect our families, friends, and neighbors, and prevent even greater hardship during the coming months.
NCDHHS asks people to remember the three Ws when they leave home: Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth, wait six feet apart and avoid close contact, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. These actions can protect our families and neighbors while the virus is circulating.
Executive Order 176, which is in effect through Dec. 4, lowers the indoor mass gathering limit to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key pandemic metrics. As the weather gets colder, more people will gather indoors. Studies show that indoor gatherings increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Executive Order seeks to limit indoor gatherings that could rapidly and dangerously spread the virus. Certain events, such as worship services, wedding ceremonies, funeral services, and gatherings for work and governmental services, are not subject to the 10-person indoor mass gathering limit.
Local businesses are vital to our economy. We are proud of the resilience and innovation they have shown during the pandemic. We encourage residents and visitors to continue safely supporting Newton’s small businesses. Executive Order 176 does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that have already been established and does not enact the 10-person indoor mass gathering limit on those businesses. Fitness and exercise facilities, restaurants, personal care businesses, museums, movie theatres, performing arts centers, and certain meeting spaces remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements. If you choose to visit an establishment where people are congregating, please remember to follow the three Ws.
The City of Newton recognizes the strain caused by pandemic-related changes to our personal and professional lives. We also recognize that we are a strong community that looks out for one another. We will continue to find ways to support our neighbors while providing reliable public safety, water/wastewater, electricity, and sanitation services. If you have any concerns about your city services, please let us know by calling 828-695-4300. You may find more information at www.newtonnc.gov/coronavirus.