Clemmons Mayor John Wait issued a declaration requiring residents to shelter in place, the first municipality in Forsyth County to do so, in a move to stymie the spread of the new coronavirus.

The order will take effect on 5 p.m. Friday and will remain in effect until 5 p.m. April 16, or until modified or rescinded.

Wait consulted with council members but, as local ordinance allows, issued the declaration on his own.

"I've been talking to other local leaders and it looked like there would be a strong movement statewide toward this," Wait said in between fielding phone calls from residents of the village. "I thought it was especially important given Clemmons' proximity to Winston-Salem and how much we cross-pollinate and how it made sense that if they (Winston-Salem) were considering, we should, too."

A man who works at a factory in Clemmons recently tested positive for the coronavirus, Waits said. 

"We feel very likely that we have an outbreak pending here, in Forsyth County and the Triad," he said. "Hopefully, if we do it now, we will have staved off a healthcare disaster."

Mayor Mike Horn of Lewisville posted on Facebook that there are no plans to issue such an order in Lewisville.

"This could change should conditions change in our community," Horn said in the post.

The order in Clemmons allows for many businesses to remain open and for some movement within the village limits. While families and friends can check on people, the order prohibits casual social gatherings and visits.

"Basically, you're allowed to move if it's an essential function, so a purely social visit is not an essential function," Wait said.

Wait, who is in his second term, consulted with council members as he drafted the declaration. Not all agreed with the scope of the order, he said.

"If our council wants to take a different action, they can take that up," Wait said.

As for enforcement, Wait said he and other officials will see how closely residents follow the declaration for the first 48 hours after it goes into effect. 

"We will if we need to," Wait said about enforcement, "but we feel like the community will buckle down."

According to the declaration: All Clemmons residents must not travel or carry on any business except as allowed in the proclamation;

* All public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited (residents of households excepted);

* Residents may engage in essential activities, like shopping for groceries or household items, picking up take-out food from restaurants, engaging in outdoor activities, taking care of others, or working as permitted in the proclamation;

* If residents do any of these essential activities, among others outlined in the order, they must maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals as much as possible;

* Essential businesses should continue to operate, and they must comply as much as possible with social distancing requirements (six feet of separation);

* Non-essential businesses may also continue to operate, but they must do so by complying with social distancing requirements and keep gatherings to ten people or less;

*  Non-essential entry into the village is discouraged, but not prohibited; 

* Restrictive precautions and screenings for employees at nursing home and elder care facilities is encouraged but not required.

lodonnell@wsjournal.com

336-727-7420

@lisaodonnellWSJ

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