Secretary Cohen’s New Restrictions Not Enforceable, but They Could Foreshadow Executive Action | Beaufort County Now | Cohen’s guidelines come in a so-called “secretarial directive” issued from her office this week and are more stringent than Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders. | carolina journal, mandy cohen, secretary, coronavirus, covid-19, new restrictions, executive action, january 11, 2021

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Secretary Cohen’s New Restrictions Not Enforceable, but They Could Foreshadow Executive Action

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Andrew Dunn.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen at a May 2020 COVID-19 briefing.

    Stay home. Wear a mask at all times. Don't interact with anyone outside your household. If you do, get tested for COVID-19, N.C. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen has directed the people of North Carolina in a new set of toothless requirements from state government.

    She reiterated those concerns in a news conference Friday, Jan. 8. She called the COVID-19 situation in North Carolina "critical."

    Cohen's guidelines come in a so-called "secretarial directive" issued from her office this week and are more stringent than Gov. Roy Cooper's executive orders. Cohen's edict doesn't carry the force of law and isn't enforceable. It could, however, foreshadow new restrictions Cooper could adopt in coming weeks.


What's in the directive?

    In the memo from Cohen's office, North Carolinians "are directed to adhere to" a stringent set of requirements, including:

  • Wearing a mask at all times and keeping 6 feet from others when outside the home.
  • Not going inside any space where a person is unmasked.
  • Staying home at all times unless going to work or school, seeing a doctor, or buying food.
  • Avoiding meeting with people from outside your home.
  • Getting tested for COVID-19 if you meet with someone from outside your household.

    These rules are significantly more restrictive than Cooper's most recent executive orders, which allow gatherings of 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, and direct people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exceptions.

    Cohen's memo says the directive is in response to recent record-high levels of new COVID cases and hospitalizations.


What is a secretarial directive?

    The secretarial directive has raised eyebrows in a state that has grown accustomed to the governor's executive orders but hasn't encountered this type of directive. While Cohen can issue directives to her own employees, there doesn't appear to be a mechanism in N.C. law for a cabinet secretary to issue directives that are binding on the people of the state.

    In a set of FAQs distributed alongside the directive, DHHS acknowledges that Cohen's guidelines are "not enforceable through civil or criminal penalty."


What comes next?

    Cooper's most recent executive order expires Jan. 29. Already, pressure is mounting on his administration to take more draconian steps to attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. In a letter sent to Cooper's office Friday, the N.C. Nurses Association urges him to implement more restrictions on gatherings, masks and social distancing.

    Andrew Dunn is a freelance writer covering N.C. politics.


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Rep. Keith Kidwell will chair the Banking and Finance Committees (Finance is the "tax" committee)
So many families are dealing with it. Someone close to you is troubled to the point that you’re worried about their future.
Back in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, church officials felt it necessary to scrutinize every book or pamphlet for the slightest hint of heresy.
While an annual report from a financial watchdog shows most U.S. cities are poorly prepared to face the fiscal fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the three North Carolina cities examined showed stronger numbers.
The State Board of Elections will hold a remote meeting beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
Ghislaine Maxwell is hoping a judge will drop the federal sex-trafficking charges against her thanks to Jeffrey Epstein’s 2007 plea deal, which was supposed to protect himself and his close contacts from sex-trafficking charges.

HbAD1

Sheriff Coleman gives big raises while many taxpayers in Beaufort County are hurting badly
The coronavirus pandemic has created a window of opportunity for school choice, says a panel of experts at a John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury.
The Constitution Party and the Green Party are no longer recognized political parties in North Carolina.
Inez Feltscher Stepman writes for the Federalist about the odd cast of characters engaged in the recent Capitol violence.
Mairead McArdle writes for National Review Online about one high-profile Republican senator’s response to the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

HbAD2

A Texas man who took part in the Capitol riots earlier this month has been hit with new charges related to him allegedly threatening to “assassinate” the radically liberal Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

HbAD3

 
Back to Top