From Staff Reports
Local officials are calling on students who rushed Franklin Street after last Saturday’s Carolina-Duke basketball game to quarantine and get tested regularly until the threat of transmission has passed.
In addition, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, Town Manager Maurice Jones and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue will meet with UNC leadership Wednesday to discuss stronger measures for preventing violations of local and state ordinances by university students going forward.
“If you were out on Saturday night celebrating the basketball game, it is advised that you self-monitor for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and get a test on day six following potential exposure at this mass gathering,” said Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart. “We know that community spread of COVID-19 is high so it is important to take these measures to slow the spread of this disease.”
The post-game celebration on Franklin Street, which drew hundreds of students, was “extremely disappointing,” said Blue. “I am a proud Tar Heel. I was pulling for a Carolina victory as much as anyone else. But no celebration is worth risking the health and safety of our community.”
Hemminger noted that “since the start of the pandemic, our entire community has worked diligently to learn and come up with shared expectations of how we should all be acting during the pandemic in order to keep everyone safe. This has been hard on everyone but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We need everyone to stay vigilant together until our public health experts say it is safe to do otherwise.”
The mayor said that after issuing pleas for students not to celebrate on Franklin Street, officials were “hopeful that students would do the right thing.” In the future, Hemminger said, “we will continue to think differently to avoid such gatherings.”
Meanwhile, the police department will continue working with UNC to assist with any information gathering to follow up with students who were in violation of the state’s COVID-19 protocols. Penalties for repeat violations of state executive orders could include fines up to $1,000 and up to 60 days in jail.