A joint task force of the North Carolina Medical Society and the North Carolina Healthcare Association have issued the statement below regarding resumption of economic activity during the current pandemic. The task force members emphasize the need, above all, to protect public health through continued social distancing and other efforts to slow the spread of the virus and recognize that a thoughtful and measured approach to resuming business activities is necessary.

RALEIGH — The health care community, state and local officials, the business community, and all North Carolinians have taken the necessary steps to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the health and wellness of our State.  As the State’s health care experts, we believe controlling spread of the COVID-19 has also reduced loss of life and has mitigated the economic toll on our State and its citizens.  It is clear that many of the actions taken are successfully ‘flattening the curve’ and are still warranted to protect public health and the safe resumption of commercial activity.  As we learn more about the course of this pandemic, we must continuously look at all the variables affecting the population’s health and the economy in determining a safe pathway to reopening businesses, restaurants and our infrastructure.

We fully support continued social distancing and responsible behavior.  As the State’s trusted health care experts, we believe this approach has been effective and should continue to be best practice for all.  We fully support a “triggered” or staggered loosening of social distancing and other restrictions for the safe operations of business and commerce.  This guarantees a “back-to-business” approach but safeguards against a “business-as-usual” mindset.  If a business can institute procedures to ensure it is observing established safety precautions (e.g., social distancing, face masks, handwashing, remote work when feasible, and other recommended actions) for its facilities and personnel, we believe this represents a standard that is protective of employees and customers, and limits the negative impact on community health. This standard has been demonstrated by the ongoing work of essential businesses across the state during the pandemic, and should apply to any business resuming operations.  We understand that restoration of broader economic activity is critical; however, to safeguard our common health goals, we must be prepared to reinstate stricter limits on social and commercial activity (including health services) in geographic areas where the spread of COVID-19 is not controlled.

Our health care providers will work with our business community and state and local officials to restore economic activity in North Carolina safely and expeditiously.

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