April 24, 2020 UPDATE: At a press briefing at 2:00 pm this afternoon, the Governor gave details on schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
April 23, 2020 UPDATE: At a press briefing at 3:00 pm this afternoon, the Governor extended the stay-at-home order until May 8, 2020.
Original post: At a 4:00 pm briefing today, Governor Cooper announced a statewide stay-at-home order. The executive order means that North Carolina will join 23 other states in ordering all non-essential businesses to close and for people to remain in their homes with some exceptions for food, medicine and outdoor exercise.
In earlier executive orders, the Governor had already taken steps to encourage social distancing including
- Closing schools
- Banning gatherings of over 50 people
- Closing businesses that require close contact such as hair salons
- Banning nursing home visits
- Banning dine-in for restaurants and bars
This new order goes further by banning all business except those deemed essential for the next 30 days. Examples of essential businesses include the following.
- Healthcare/Public Health
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
- Food and Agriculture
- Water and Wastewater
- Transportation and Logistics
- Public Works
- Communications and Information Technology
- Critical Manufacturing
- Financial Services
- Religious Entities
- Gas Stations
- Hardware Stores
- Mail Delivery
- Restaurants for pickup or delivery
In addition, firms that support essential businesses - such as distribution services and other businesses critical to the supply chain - are also deemed essential.
Cooper said that in the case of stay-at-home orders issued by localities in North Carolina, the more restrictive order is in effect.
Businesses not currently recognized as essential that believe they should be can apply to be recognized on the NC Department of Revenue website.
In issuing the order, Governor Cooper said that this order was needed to slow the spread of the virus.
"Because no one is immune and there is no vaccination, the best scientifically proven tool we have to slow the spread is keeping our physical distance and staying at home."
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen stressed the need to not overwhelm hospitals with surges of new cases.
"Our best weapon is social distancing. What we do today can save lives in the weeks and months to come. The more social distancing actions we take and stick to, the more likely our health care system will be there for everyone who needs it."
When asked what data the administration will be monitoring to decide whether to extend the order past 30 days, or rescind the order early, Cooper responded that they were looking at a variety of information including how rapid the rise in new cases is, how overwhelmed the hospitals are and whether we are running low on bed and critical medical supplies.