GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) Monday, the Greenville City Council passed an emergency ordinance that implements a curfew for the Central Business District, as well as the closure of a popular city park until further notice.
Council members established that the curfew for those in the Central Business District, or downtown Greenville area, will be from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning at 11 p.m. March 25.
The curfew will last 60 days from the day it starts.
“In ordinary times, we would expect and encourage our residents and visitors to spend time enjoying our parks and socializing downtown, but these are extraordinary times. We cannot be casual about the consequences of spreading this virus,” Mayor Knox White said. “It’s been a little over a week since we took our first steps to address this public health crisis and the goal is the same as it was then, to keep COVID-19 from overtaking our community, by creating social distance.”
However, the ordinance does not apply to those going to and from work or those in need of healthcare. Exempt from the curfew are essential employees such as police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers, public works, active duty military, and utility workers.
Greenville City leaders have passed an emergency ordinance placing a temporary curfew in the Central Business District.This will go into effect Wednesday, March 25 in downtown.The hours will be from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. pic.twitter.com/47UnBGD16d— City of Greenville (@CityGreenville) March 23, 2020
Also beginning March 25, city officials have ordered all businesses with sidewalk cafe areas to remove all chairs from the public space. Tables may remain in place. Due to this temporary restriction of the use of outdoor spaces, businesses may delay payment of their encroachment fee until further notice. However, submission of paperwork is still required.
Council members also say that Falls Park downtown will be temporarily closed following reports of pickup sport games taking place in city parks and along Main Street.
“Unfortunately, there are people in our community who do not understand the severity of the circumstances and are ignoring the recommendations of health professionals,” said City Manager John McDonough. “We know that this has been a trying time for our citizens, but the only way to avoid extreme measures here is to take it upon ourselves to stay at home, and go out only to purchase groceries and supplies, seek medical attention or maintain a healthy lifestyle through solitary exercise in open, outdoor spaces.”
While people are still allowed to walk along sidewalks and trails, they're asked to "keep moving."
At this time, Greenville City Police say they'll be stepping up patrol of the park.
City officials say they'd rather err on the side of caution, and get out in front of the spread of COVID-19.
The City of Greenville has also created a Community Resource Guide that connects businesses and residents in the area.