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'This is not a lockdown' | Winston-Salem city leaders explain what a stay-at-home order means

"You can go to the grocery store, you are not locked up in your home," Assistant City Manager Damon Dequenne reiterated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A stay-at-home order will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m. for Guilford County, Forsyth County, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. 

Winston-Salem city leaders say there's a lot of misinformation out there. A stay-at-home order is not a lockdown.

You can go for a jog.
You can get gas.
You can get food - grocery store and takeout at restaurants.
You can get medication.
Those who fall under 'essential,' can go to work.

"You can go to the grocery store, you are not locked up in your home," Assistant City Manager Damon Dequenne reiterated.

Police are enforcing the order, but will stick to conversations and educating folks before issuing any citations. Citations are a worst case scenario.

"There's no martial law where the police are going to be rolling down the street asking you what you're doing and why you're doing it, it’s an order to remind the community about social distancing and to limit your trips out only to those that are essential," said Dequenne. 

WFMY News 2 asked, but both Greensboro Police and Winston-Salem police didn't know how much those citations would cost you, but it is a class 2 misdemeanor. 

"The officers will start with voluntary compliance, discussing the order, explaining the intent of the order and educating folks and only in the worst of cases would someone need to be cited."

This would only apply if people were gathered in large groups (of more than ten people) or if police caught wind about a nonessential business refusing to close. 

How do you know if your business is essential or non essential? There a list!

RELATED: Stay-at-home orders issued for Greensboro, High Point, Guilford County

If you don't find your business on there, you can call the hotline and inquire. Many nonessential businesses already closed on Wednesday, like hair salons. 

RELATED: Need your hair or nails done? You’ll have to wait

"Yes there will be additional businesses closing, we’ve been receiving a number of requests from businesses as to whether they’re considered essential or not under the order," Dequenne explained. "If you have a stationary store where you may sell greeting cards or things like that, that’s not essential they’re going to be expected to close by 5 o'clock {Friday} afternoon."

A WFMY News 2 viewer asked whether car dealerships will have to close.

"We’re sort of handling that on a case-by-case basis," Dequenne stated. "Car dealerships, depending on who they supply, if they supply law enforcement vehicles or trade vehicles {they'll stay open} but they can just contact the city and we’ll be happy to help determine that."

Do you believe your business is essential but it wasn't on the list? You can appeal to the mayor. 

"The decision ends with the Mayor, it's his order and it is to be enforced by the Winston-Salem Police Department so they can appeal to the mayor and start the process there."

Again, this is not a lockdown and the city wants you to know that. 

"This is not a lockdown, we’re not putting everyone on quarantine but limit your trips, minimize your exposure to others and practice social distancing in small groups."

Dequenne answers what he says it one of the most frequently asked question to the hotline:

"One of the best questions I've been getting is 'I work out of the city, or have a business out of the city that isn't closed, can my employees come to and from work?' And the answer to that is yes."

The gist of this order: listen to officials, do your part, and stay at home as much as possible.

"It's more of a social contract because this is a serious situation this is a national crisis and we have an order in place to help you comply with preventative measures so we don’t overwhelm our medical system and it doesn’t become a situation like an Italy or a New York."

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