Beaufort County commissioners vote against reopening county, sparks debate

Coronavirus

BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – People who attended Monday’s meeting say many speakers pushed to break Beaufort County away from state reopening guidelines. ​ The commission’s chairman said he wants to reopen the county, but not if it risks local businesses or health.​

“No one wants to reopen more than I do but I don’t want to hurt us more than helping us,” said Jerry Evans, commission chairman.

The Beaufort County Commission voted 5-2 against an earlier and wider reopening.

Evans said reopening too soon could mean businesses would not follow proper precautions and risk losing their licenses.

Jerry Evans, Board of Commissioners Chairman

“Someone opens a restaurant and they make a mistake and they pull their liquor license that’s a big deal,” he said.

Beth Glisson is co-owner of The Wine Crate in Washington. She said only offering takeout service has been a financial strain. Glisson has laid off employees. She once had 12 workers. Now, there are only two. She wants officials to reopen to help relieve small businesses.

Beth Glisson, co-owner of The Wine Crate in Washington

“It’s a regional thing and not a one size fits all. We should be allowed to open back up. We’re smart enough to be in the business we’re smart enough to understand sanitation,” said Glisson.

Commissioner Stan Deatherage agrees with Glisson. He voted to reopen Beaufort County.

“I’m not 100% sure the governor will start opening up the state of North Carolina on Friday. The people in this area are in dramatic economic stress and they need to get their businesses back in the right direction,” said Deatherage.

Stan Deatherage, Commissioner

Family physician Jessica Triche is happy commissioners voted against the reopening measure. She wants to reopen but believes there should be a plan.

“As a county we should follow the states lead. Opening things too soon, people from the surrounding counties may come and visit small businesses here and then were bring the virus to our own county,” said Triche.

Beaufort County officials are monitoring governor cooper’s plans.​ Chairman Evans says he may call a future special meeting to revisit the board’s decision.

Jessica Triche, MD, Vidant Family Medicine-Chocowinity

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