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January 6, 2022 3:06 PM

Joines Orders “Appointment Only” Access to City Buildings

Due to the soaring COVID-19 infection rate, Mayor Allen Joines has ordered that through Jan. 31, in-person access to city buildings shall be allowed by appointment only in order to ensure the city can continue to provide city services.

“Residents and others wishing to access city-owned or city-leased buildings,” the order states, “are hereby directed to access city services by use of City Link, drive-thru services, online platforms, and other electronic means, including, but not limited to, telephone and email, where possible.”

Joines issued his order as an 11th amendment to the State of Emergency declaration he initially issued March 13, 2020. It comes at a time when the number of COVID cases and the positive test rate in Forsyth County are soaring.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, 659 new cases were reported in Forsyth County and the COVID-19 positive test rate was 23.5 percent, up from 15.9 percent on Dec. 31. Joines’ order is intended to forestall a wide-reaching impact on the city and its citizens if a sizeable number of city workers became ill.

“If we don’t limit the number of cases among our employees,” Joines said, “there is a chance that we cannot adequately deliver the necessary city services such as sanitation, street clearing in case of snow, and all the other services that our residents depend upon.”

Joines’ order directs the city staff and all city boards and commissions to meet virtually “at least through the month of January 2022.”

The order also authorizes City Manager Lee Garrity to reschedule or change to virtual events any currently scheduled in-person city programs. However, the order states that “within reason,” the city should allow previously scheduled events at city recreation and park facilities.

The order exempts the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, Truist Stadium and the M.C. Benton Convention Center “due to existing COVID-19 measures in place at these facilities.”

The full text of the order will be posted at CityofWS.org/COVID19.

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