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Tariq Bokhari Answers Shelter-In-Place Questionsby The Biscuit Staff on March 25, 2020
With the announcement of shelter-in-place orders for Mecklenburg County that take effect at 8am on Thursday, March 26, many questions about what kinds of movements are allowed have cropped up. Our media partner, WFAE, has posted answers to many of the questions and Charlotte City Council member, Tariq Bokhari, shared additional answers on Facebook the afternoon March 25. As this order greatly affects creatives and small businesses, what follows below are Council Member Bokhari’s comments presented without edits.
“I have spent time compiling all of the questions our community has on if the Stay at Home Order affects their unique circumstances that fall in a gray area.
First and foremost, if you have questions there is a ‘Stay at Home Order’ Hotline at 704-353-1926 that is designed to answer your questions. I have requested they continue to staff up to handle the volume, as well as go 24/7 so more people can get through.
There were 6 most common questions I have been getting, so I got on the phone with several officials and leaders to get answers quickly. Here they are:
1. How does this order impact the real estate industry? They are allowing construction, as well as the completion of existing and pre-scheduled activities such as closings on the books – as long as they can be done remotely. If those items require people to come together in person, they have advised me that it will be in the prohibited list of activities. Per the order, they are still allowing appraisal and title services to continue on. My call to action for the industry: we must figure out how to take critical activities virtual. Showing houses will not be allowed right now, but figure out creative ways to remotely keep needed deal flow going until we get through this. For example if the house is empty you wouldn’t be able to do a virtual showing, but if the owners are still occupying it, you could get them to do a virtual live tour by appointment where the agent talks and answers questions and they just walk the camera around.
2. How are churches impacted by this order? Churches are included in the ‘considered essential’ list under the section of ‘organizations that provide charitable and social services’. So those that have decided to keep their services going by livestreaming them can do so in small groups (under 10, practicing social distancing) from their normal facility.
3. Can a person travel from Meck to another county that is not under this order to do something? Yes, as long as the activity is on the ‘considered essential’ list. For example, if someone is a healthcare worker who needs to go from Meck to another county and back, or someone is doing business related to the critical path of providing food supply, they are allowed to do so. I’ve also been asked specifically about travel like this related to Church duties, and I have been told that is also allowed. If the activity is listed as ‘essential’, you can travel for it – that’s the rule of thumb.
4. What are the limitations placed on the manufacturing industry under this order? I was told the items listed in point #20 of the detailed proclamation is what is allowable under this order. That includes the supply of products in and for industries such as pharma, tech, biotech, healthcare, chemicals/sanitation, waste pickup/disposal, agriculture, food/bev, transportation, energy, steel/steel products, petroleum/fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other ‘Essential Business’ operations. This is an expansive list, but anything not considered within this list is not allowed to operate with people involved.
5. How will enforcement of this order be performed? I spoke with several leaders, including our Chief of Police, and the sentiment is as follows: we will lead with a primary goal of education, while ensuring we keep our first responders safe. Taking enforcement action is an absolute last resort, but something that can occur if absolutely needed. We all hope that everyone will respect this order for the next several weeks and keep the community and our first responders health and safety top of mind.
6. Is there an exception process if my business is not considered ‘essential’ but I feel there is a case for it being allowed? I discussed this with County and City leaders, and they have agreed to enable people seeking exceptions to use the Stay at Home Order Hotline 704-353-1926 to request review and ruling on their request.”