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Governor Cooper hopes other cities follow Greensboro's enforcement lead; Mayor Vaughan speaks at COVID-19 update

150 businesses in Greensboro have been given a 'pre-warning' for violating the mask mandate and capacity limits according to city leaders.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Did you see a familiar face on Governor Roy Cooper's COVID-19 briefing Monday afternoon?

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan took to the podium in Raleigh as the only speaker from local government.

Governor Cooper invited Vaughan to address the state after issuing an enhanced emergency declaration on Friday. Cooper recognized Vaughan's leadership, and hopes other cities will follow suit. 

RELATED: 'We have to get a hold of this' | Greensboro orders emergency declaration due to spike in COVID-19 cases, businesses in violation will be fined

The emergency declaration allows for businesses to receive civil penalties for actions the governor describes as 'a risk public health,' like employees not wearing masks and overcrowding. 

Vaughan explained the penalty process during the press conference. 

"All business must enforce the face covering requirement on all their employees. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. This is taking responsibility for their employees, not the actions of the general public."

Since Friday, Vaughan said city employees have given 'pre-warnings' to 150 businesses to let them know about the new enforcement process.

So far, a city spokesperson said they have just been educating businesses and asking for voluntary compliance before issuing any tickets or fines. 

Vaughan said the 150 that have already been talked to were on the city's radar for months.

"These businesses are businesses we know have a history of compliance issues. Starting {Tuesday} the City Manager will have a broad cross section of compliance teams. Just in the last two days we've seen greater compliance."

RELATED: COVID-19 Blog | Both Guilford, Alamance counties listed ‘critical’ under new COVID-19 County Alert System, Davidson County listed as ‘substantial’

Any Greensboro business violating capacity restrictions or mask requirements can be ticketed and fined $100 dollars for every person over the limit.  

Vaughan said she doesn't want businesses to shut back down. She wants businesses to stay in business, but she also doesn't want to overwhelm hospitals with COVID-19 patients. 

"According to Cone Health, 230 people have died in Guilford County since the starts of the pandemic. At the rate we are going they predict we could have 100 more by the end of this year."