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Cornelius News

Galway Hooker party, in smaller form, under way

March 14. By Dave Yochum. The crowd was getting thicker at Galway Hooker late this afternoon where owner Chris Boukedes said he would postpone today’s trademark St. Patrick’s Day party in Kenton Place.

It’s smaller, confined behind barriers and people garbed in green outfits are partying like there’s no tomorrow.

Town officials said they were disappointed to see the party, which has indeed been scaled down from a full-blown street festival complete with booths and food vendors.

On Facebook Boukedes said the pub and patio will remain open, “with very limited availability inside due to the new health and safety recommendations.”

Yesterday he told Mayor Washam it would be postponed.

At 4:30 pm today the party was hopping, with in excess of 300 people in and around a tent.

It’s apparently not the definition of “postpone” that’s in question. The party is happening, but the street festival is not.

Party-goers can belly up to a bar perched directly on Kenton Boulevard.

Much of the rest of the country is quietly and quickly hunkering down, cancelling events and trying to prevent the coronavirus from spreading faster than the healthcare system can accommodate patients.

The parking lots at Birkdale Cinemas were 75-80 percent empty at 4 pm Saturday.

A second Mecklenburg County resident has tested positive for the coronavirus, in addition to one in Cabarrus County.

Mecklenburg County has declared a county-wide State of Emergency due to the fast-spreading virus.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order to halt mass gatherings in North Carolina for an indefinite period of time to prevent the spread of the  coronavirus.

Cooper identifies a mass gathering as 100 or more people.

Basketball tournaments have been canceled, along with concerts and church services.

A fundraiser/gala for the Cain Center for the Arts in early April will also be cancelled, Cornelius Today has learned. Blumenthal Performing Arts has suspended all public events in its facilities from March 14-April 12.

Cooper also ordered all public schools closed effective Monday to prevent the spread of the disease which killed one elderly woman in New York today.

Older Americans are most at risk, as well as those with medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

Town officials quietly drove by the Galway Hooker on the other side of Kenton Boulevard and spoke to Cornelius Today.

Dr. Mike Miltich, a town commissioner, said he was deeply disappointed.


“It will take a community effort to slow this virus down and this is not a good example of how to do so,” Miltich said before driving off.

​Town officials said they were very aware of business owners’ rights and the need to turn a profit.

“The town has made their preference known, it is up to the business owner to determine if they will follow the request and perfectly within their rights to not do so. It is up to the public to determine their own course of action to attend or not,” one official said.​

This is the first pandemic we’re living through ​and mis-steps are to be expected.

​President Trump declared a national emergency, but parties are also under way at Harp & Crown which was packed and turning people away at around 6 pm.

Harp & Crown: Packed March 14

At least one young person leaving Harp & Crown at that point was wearing a t-shirt that said F – – – you COVID-19.

Older adults were also bragging on Facebook last night, saying they were out and about, supporting the local economy in spite of the pandemic which had taken 5,802 lives as of 6 pm, according to Johns Hopkins.

The crisis is still ramping up, however. ​​It is expected to get much worse in the coming weeks.​ It is not expected to slow down at the moment.​

Gov. Cooper’s office sent Cornelius Today notice of the executive order at 6 pm:

Mar 14, 2020
Governor Roy Cooper today ordered all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to COVID-19. The Executive Order also bans gatherings of more than 100 people. North Carolina currently has 23 people in 12 counties who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach. These are hard decisions but they are necessary so we can learn more about the virus,” Governor Cooper said. “We do not want any regrets in the rearview mirror, and I am guided by one objective – doing what we must to keep people from getting sick and to make sure that those who do can get excellent care.”

The Executive Order directs all public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for at least two weeks. The two-week period allows time for North Carolina to further understand the impact of COVID-19 across the state and develop a plan for continued learning for students should a longer closure be needed. Governor Cooper made the decision in consultation with State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, and North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Governor Cooper has appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed. The working group will focus on issues including nutrition, health, childcare access for critical health care and other front-line workers and learning support for children at home.

The Working Group will be co- chaired by Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary of NCDHHS and David Stegall, Ed.D, Deputy State Superintendent of Innovation at DPI, and will have representatives from DPI, NCDHHS, the State Board of Education, as well as other education, nutrition and childcare associations.

“I am standing up this new working group to ensure that children have enough food to eat, families have care in safe places for their young children, and student learning continues,” Governor Cooper said.

In addition to closing schools, the Executive Order prohibits mass gatherings that bring together more than 100 people in a single room or space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or other confined indoor or outdoor space, including parades, fairs and festivals. Violations of the order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The ban on gatherings does not include airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and spaces where people may be in transit. Office environments, restaurants, factories, or retail or grocery stores are also excluded.

The Order received concurrence by members of the NC Council of State without objection. The full executive order is available here.

Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. 

For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.