Almost two weeks after Governor Roy Cooper issued a statewide stay at home order, some Charlotteans say they’re knowingly breaking it.
Last week, we sent a survey to Agenda subscribers asking them about life during coronavirus with questions covering topics like working from home, social distancing, and finances. More than 4,000 people responded.
Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they’re taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously, but when asked about the reasons they leave home, many admitted to breaking the stay at home order.
Survey says: More than 1 in 10 respondents said they’re still visiting with friends, family, or neighbors, an activity considered non-essential under the order.
“I still feel guilty about it and know it is part of the problem,” one respondent said.
“I understand the importance of social distancing, but will admit I’m not perfect,” another said. “It’s also hard to keep six feet away from neighbors and friends you see while out for a walk, everyone just wants to say hi! (And pet my dog.)”
Others admitted to leaving home for non-essential reasons like leisurely motorcycle rides, buying supplies for non-essential home improvement projects, and playing tennis with friends.
Parks and greenways are open for walk-in use only, meaning parking lots are closed. Use of playground equipment and sports courts is also prohibited. Golf courses are still open, and six percent of respondents say they’ve left home to play golf.
Concerns: On March 29, county health director Gibbie Harris voiced concern over crowded outdoor spaces where we’re seeing people gathering in groups larger than ten. “They’re allowed to go out and exercise but we have emphasized that people need to be six feet apart. Social distancing is critical in this situation,” Harris said about crowded parks. “You couldn’t social distance even if you wanted to.”
On Tuesday evening, county manager Dena Diorio said restricting parking at public parks and greenways is a way to reduce crowding. Further action, like closing parks altogether, is a possibility if people continue to gather in large groups.
Over the weekend, a few dozen people gathered in Romare Bearden Park. Some played volleyball, others sunbathed, a few set up a picnic. Many were within six feet of one another.