The Henderson County sheriff’s department will not enforce social distancing guidelines. Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin says he’s “frustrated by the governor throwing a blanket over the state.”
“The constitution wasn’t suspended just because of this pandemic," Griffin said. "We’ve got a lot of small business owners that are hurting...and these multi-trillian dollar packages that our federal government is passing is not helping at all."
Griffin says it should be up to individuals and local municipalities, not the state.
"When you look at the numbers here in Henderson County versus our population, what I'm hearing with our healthcare centers and coming from the providers is locally, we’re not in a situation where we’re having to face any type of crisis with that," Griffin said.
Henderson County has the highest amount of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Western North Carolina, higher right now than neighboring Buncombe County even though Henderson has half the population. The state Department of Health and Human Services reports about half of Henderson County’s confirmed cases have been recorded in residents and staff at nursing homes.
While the sheriff’s department isn’t issuing citations to individuals or businesses for failing to practice social distancing, Griffin says, officers are taking extra safety precautions inside the detention facility and out on patrols. The jail population prior to Covid in mid-february was 210. The sheriff says as of this week, it’s 146.