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Confusion regarding stay at home order in Gaston County frustrates business owners

Some business owners feel county leaders got hopes up after they said business owners could reopen Wednesday, even though that would be breaking state law.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Confusion surrounding the stay at home order in Gaston County turned into frustrations for some business owners who thought they would be able to reopen after weeks of financial hardships. 

"It's been a long, crazy day," said Alfredo Culebro, the restaurant manager at Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Gastonia. 

Wednesday morning, he thought he was granted the ability to reopen his restaurant for dining, per Gaston County Board Chair Tracy Philbeck. 

"But things changed quickly," Culebro said. 

On Wednesday, commissioners signed an order that ultimately maintained the county would abide by Governor Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order. However, it also said the county would support any business that wanted to open back up. 

RELATED: Confusion ensues after Gaston County leaders say businesses could reopen despite state Stay at Home order

At a press conference, Philbeck then stated businesses could open back up, and encouraged them to do so. 

Then, Gaston County officials released a statement backtracking that stance, saying if businesses opened it would be breaking the state's law. 

"We was confused. we are still confused now," Culebro said. 

Culebro wasn't the only one confused. Ink Link Tattoos in Gastonia had also planned to reopen, stating on Facebook that their doors would open at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

After clarification, they decided not to reopen. 

Culebro said county leaders got his hopes up. Although businesses have Philbeck's blessing, Culebro's restaurant remains take-out only. Gastonia police even checked in to make sure on Wednesday evening. 

"Before they get our hopes up, they should let us know it is really OK for us to open," said Culebro. 


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