Mayor’s Remarks

June 22, 2020

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport,

Today I am signing a revised Proclamation of the State of Emergency for the City of Southport that requires the wearing of a face covering by all persons who are within the jurisdiction of our city. This is effective June 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM.   All restaurant, personal care, grocer, retail employees and staff shall wear a protective face covering while on duty. As are those of us who enter their establishments, are required to wear a protective facial covering.

The State of Emergency with respect to COVID-19, was declared on March 20, 2020 in order to maintain and protect the public health of the citizens and residents of Southport.

The use of facial covering has been recommended by the President’s Coronavirus Task Force which includes the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams who “has urged people to wear face coverings, that they are important to slow the spread of coronavirus and reopen the economy.”

In a major scientific study, concerning transmission of the coronavirus, published in the journal, Cell, scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC School of Public Health, have determined one of the specific mechanisms in which the coronavirus infects cells in the nasal area to a greater degree and to a lesser degree in cells located in the lower respiratory tract, including the lungs.

“The findings suggest that the virus tends to become firmly established first in the nasal cavity, but in some cases the virus is aspirated into the lungs, where it may cause a more serious disease, including potentially fatal pneumonia.”

“If the nose is the dominant initial site from which lung infections are seeded, then the widespread use of masks to protect the nasal passages, could be beneficial.”

“In one set of laboratory experiments, the researchers used different isolates of SARS-CoV-2 to see how efficiently they could infect cultured cells from different parts of the human airway. They found a striking pattern of continuous variation, or gradient, from a relatively high infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in cells lining the nasal passages, to less infectivity in cells lining the throat and bronchi, to relatively low infectivity in the lung cells.”

In Public Health, we use science, to help guide us in policy decisions and also to verify the decisions we have made. It has been recommended by public health officials for months to wear a face covering when you are out in public, to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.  The face covering prevents viral laden droplets from being airborne and becoming a vector of disease.  If I wear a mask, I am protecting you from me and the possibility that I may have the coronavirus and could transmit it to you.  And if you are wearing facial covering, you are doing the same by protecting me and all who are around you.  Every employee in every restaurant, store, and business in Southport is now required to wear a facial covering. As are those of us who enter these establishments are required to wear a protective facial covering. This is mandated by our Emergency Proclamation.  The spread of the virus is a product of our behavior. By all of us wearing facial covering, this will help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As your Mayor, as a Doctor, and as a Public Health Advocate, I urge everyone to comply with the required wearing of protective facial covering as stated in our Emergency Proclamation, and by doing so, you will be one of the heroes that helped to save lives!

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, and Stay Well.