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The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS), the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA), the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Group and the NC Chamber have come together to strongly encourage the public to follow public health guidelines in order to help protect our communities against COVID-19 and keep businesses open.

View a video from leaders of these groups:

Wearing a mask, observing physical distancing and washing hands frequently are simple steps to mitigate the risk of transmitting the coronavirus and help ensure the health and safety of our community as we go about our daily business. Businesses, many of which have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, are depending on customers to help them by shopping safely and following the public health guidelines.

“There are many retail stores that were closed for weeks and are struggling to recover from the shutdown. They are anxiously awaiting customers to return to shop, and they need your help both economically and with compliance to the face covering requirement. These businesses simply cannot afford a civil penalty or a criminal penalty because of customers not abiding by Governor Cooper’s Order,” said Andy Ellen, president and general counsel of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. “Simply put, please wear a mask or face covering and be considerate if you are asked to do so when you are shopping. Together, we can make this a happy holiday for everyone.”

Health care workers on the frontlines also ask the public to follow the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) 3 W’s – Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Wait six feet apart.

“As an organization representing North Carolina’s physicians and PAs, we know that wearing a mask, physical distancing and washing your hands are common sense and scientifically proven methods of stemming the spread of infectious disease like the coronavirus,” said NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO Chip Baggett, JD. “We join with businesses throughout the state to help get the message out that by working together and following these simple steps, we can protect our community.”

The NC Farm Bureau Insurance Group also is urging the public to work together to protect our communities.

“At Farm Bureau, we’re in the people business. Helping people and protecting their families and livelihoods is not just what we do, it’s who we are,” said NC Farm Bureau President Shawn Harding. “That’s why we’re listening to health authorities and doing everything we can to keep people safe and businesses open. We hope you’ll join us in supporting local businesses this holiday season, and we urge you to follow all health protocols including wearing a mask and observing social distancing.”

Since the start of the pandemic major companies in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and all types of retail have made wide-ranging changes in their operations with the health of employees and customers in mind. The business community calls on individuals to do their part so they can operate safely and continue to serve the public.

“North Carolina employers know how to keep people safe and their success relies on it,” said Gary Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber. “If all North Carolinians work together, we can protect lives and livelihoods.”

The following business and health care members of the community are ready to comment and provide local perspectives on this message.

·Michael Utecht, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine, NCMS President-elect and, (919) 745-7026.

·Holly Biola, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Family Medicine, NCMS Board member,, (919) 956-4000.

·Russell H. Rhodes Jr., President / CEO, Neuse Sport Shop. NCRMA Chairman of the Board,, 252-527-5058

About the NC Chamber

The NC Chamber works to research, develop, advocate, and communicate for solutions and policies that produce a nationally competitive business climate in North Carolina. For more information, visit

 About the North Carolina Medical Society

The North Carolina Medical Society is the oldest professional member organization in North Carolina, representing physicians and physician assistants who practice in the state. Founded in 1849, the Society seeks to provide leadership in medicine by uniting, serving and representing physicians and their health care teams to enhance the health of North Carolinians. Learn more at

 About the NC Retail Merchants Association

The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association was organized in 1902 to improve the business climate for retailers in North Carolina. Over 100 years later, NCRMA remains the voice of the retail industry for North Carolina representing the interests of individual merchants. NCRMA members include more than 25,000 stores from across the state whose business represents 75 percent of North Carolina’s retail sales volume. For more information, visit

About the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Group
For more information about the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Group, visit


Amanda Wujcik
Author: Amanda Wujcik

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