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Public Health orders closing gyms and self-service buffets

In keeping with existing measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services is issuing additional restrictions on local establishments to protect the health and safety of Gaston County residents, especially our most vulnerable members of the community.

In accordance with Gaston County’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency from March 15th, 2020, Item D mandates that, “The gathering of persons in groups of 50 or more in entertainment venues, county and municipal parks, or any other places of public assembly is restricted. Health care facilities, schools, government offices, business operations and day cares are exempted from restrictions.” The local health director is issuing the additional mandates, effective noon on Wednesday, March 18th as follows: All fitness centers and gymnasiums cease operations in Gaston County; Local grocery stores and restaurants in Gaston County will cease operations of their self-service food areas for take-out, unless food is served directly by a staff member practicing appropriate food-safety measures. 

These restrictions will be in effect until conditions change.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck said, “We do not take these actions lightly. After hearing President Trump’s increased mitigation strategy, we feel strongly we should follow his lead on this to prevent any further outbreak. As he said, the next 14 days are critical. I am fully aware of the impact the virus is having on the economy, specifically small businesses. We are working with business leaders across the county to mitigate loss.”

“While this is not an easy decision, it is the right one,” shared Gaston County Health Director Steve Eaton. “We would like to commend businesses like our local YMCAs and Regal Franklin Square for proactively closing their operations during this period of social distancing. Many are doing their part and practicing ‘social care’ and we thank all our businesses and citizens for taking care of one another and doing their part to ‘stop the spread’.”

Public health officials are working closely with local restaurants and other businesses to help them continue operations while doing everything they can to mitigate risk to their customers. If a business has questions about these orders or how to operate under county guidelines, they can call (704) 853-5200.