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Franklin County citizens to be under curfew starting Sunday

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LOUISBURG — Franklin County declared a public safety curfew be imposed daily from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. starting Sunday night and lasting through at least April 30.

During the curfew, people are not allowed to travel any public street, alley or roadway or to be upon public property unless they are searching for medical assistance or exempt as an essential employee as identified by the state’s stay-at-home Order, the resolution said.

The curfew does not apply in the corporate limits of Youngsville, Youngsville Mayor Fonzie A. Flowers said Friday in a statement to county officials. 

"Plainly, there is no need for a curfew in the Town of Youngsville at this time, and I believe such an act is violative of essential constitutional rights," Flowers said in an email. 

People will be able to move freely within the corporate limits of Youngsville.  It is not clear yet if other municipalities are participating or if the curfew will apply only to unincorporated areas of Franklin County.

"The town does not condone, nor will it practice, vehicle or pedestrian stops for the sole purpose of inquiring to what purpose anyone is outside their home," Flowers said. 

Franklin County did not communicate with Youngsville before making the decision, he added. 

"We were not included in any communication from the county level, and thus I had to make a decision that was best suited for my town and its citizens," Flowers said. 

The curfew is designed to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Franklin County had 13 confirmed cases as of Friday afternoon, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Several of those were the result of community spread, which means the person who tested positive did not know where they contracted the virus, according to the Franklin County Health Department.

“While (COVID-19) probably hasn’t hurt anyone you know yet, it will cause harm to someone you do know and very soon if we allow it to stay without a fight,” said Scott LaVigne, county health director. “Right now, there is no vaccine. There is no cure. As far as we know right now, the only humans on the planet who might have any immunity to this virus are those who have already had it.”

Between 0.6-1.5%of people who get COVID-19 die from the illness, a rate 6-15 times greater than flu fatalities, LaVigne added.

The illness spreads through airborne transmission and is spread through droplets when people cough or sneeze.

“You’d be harboring the enemy and allowing the virus into your job, your home and your family and friends if we opt to simply carry on as normal,” LaVigne said. “When you’re home today take some time to look around at all the people who are counting on you to do your part. …

“Fight the good fight. Stay home.”