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Halifax County Board of Commissioners Chairman Vernon Bryant today signed a state of emergency related to COVID-19.

The state of emergency declaration, which is now in effect, does not restrict alcohol sales and doesn’t carry a curfew.

It applies to unincorporated areas of the county, meaning those which aren’t governed by a town board of commissioners or a city council.

The declaration says, “ … I have determined that an emergency exists in the county of Halifax because of the imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property imposed by COVID-19 …”

It also says because of the “emergency … I have determined that public safety authorities will be unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property,” and that imposing restrictions and prohibitions “is necessary to maintain order and protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to secure property.”

The declaration says access to all county buildings will be restricted and county residents “are strongly urged to conduct all county business via internet or phone until further notice.”

Specific questions should be directed to the department with which the public has business.

County government will continue to operate but during restricted access staff will be using this time to clean and sanitize facilities.

Lawfully possessed firearms — handguns, rifles, or shotguns — and ammunition are not restricted under the declaration and the sheriff’s office will still be issuing pistol permits. The sheriff’s office will continue answering calls for service.

While there is no curfew, the public is encouraged to stay home if possible. “Halifax County has no known cases,” the declaration says. “These restrictions are designed to keep Halifax County free of the virus. Citizens are reminded not to call 911 except in the case of actual emergencies.”