Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly issued a “stay at home” order, beginning Thursday, March 26 at 5 p.m. in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “We are calling this the ‘Stop the Spread Order’ because that is our goal in all of this, and that message is quite simple,” Mayor Connelly said. “Unless you are providing essential service or engaging in essential activity, just stay home.”

Connelly said after conversations with health officials, emergency management and other members of the Greenville City Council, it was clear this order was needed to help contain the virus that is spreading throughout North Carolina.

As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, there were 504 positive tests in North Carolina and one death from COVID-19.

“I would also like to note that a statewide order such as this would be ideal as it would establish consistency in our battle against the virus,” Connelly said. “But just like all of you, we can only do our part. I would like to urge all others in the East and around the state to join us in taking such action.”

Vidant Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum thanked Mayor Connelly and the city council for taking action to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, leaders from Vidant Health and Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University called on local and state officials to take firm action in their areas to keep communities safe.

Other officials, including Congressman Dr. Greg Murphy and Representative Perrin Jones, also spoke during a Wednesday press conference announcing the order.

“At Vidant Health we have been and will continue to prepare and to assure that we are able to take care of the people of eastern North Carolina, Pitt County and Greenville,” Dr. Waldrum said.

Notably, the protection of caregivers, nurses and doctors is vitally important. Keeping these members of our community safe will help improve all outcomes of this pandemic.

“With that, I want to thank all of our physicians, nurses, technicians and so many people that have spent countless hours preparing and taking care of patients,” Dr. Waldrum said, “and putting themselves, frankly, in the line of fire to make sure that we take care of the people that need care.”

Murphy said he was in full support of the action taken by Mayor Connelly and the Greenville City Council, as well as the similar action taken by Pitt County. He said the order and those similar are made to keep people safe and to avoid overwhelming health care resources in the area.

While he urged state leaders to take action, he also called on the counties in his district to follow Greenville and Pitt County’s lead to keep citizens safe.

“It really won’t do much for us to be a piecemeal enclave in an epidemic and pandemic, we need other counties and other cities to join us in this effort,” Murphy said. “Unless we do that we’re going to be an island and really won’t be effective in keeping this disease at bay.”

Connelly said the order will be reviewed often to determine best steps.

Read the full ordinance from Mayor Connelly and the Greenville City Council.