UPDATE 6.25 -The Governor has now announced that the state will remain in Phase 2, and face coverings are mandated.

On April 23rd, Governor Cooper announced that he would be extending until May 8 his March 27th executive order instructing North Carolinians to stay at home. Today, Cooper followed up on this to deliver some much needed positive news for the state: As of this coming Friday, May 8, at 5:00 pm the state will enter phase 1 of reopening.

The Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen stressed that the coronavirus continues to pose a threat and we should continue to practice caution, including the three Ws: Wearing masks, Waiting six feet apart and Washing hands.

However, the data they have been monitoring suggests that some activities can resume. As of this Friday, the following will change.

  • Most businesses, other than those in which social distancing is nearly impossible, will be permitted to reopen.
  • Retail stores can now allow customers in up to 50% capacity.
  • Parks and trails will be encouraged to reopen.
  • Childcare centers that follow strict cleaning requirements can open.
  • Gatherings for worship or other exercise of first amendment rights may take place provided participants follow the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission as much as possible.

Activities still prohibited in phase 1 include the following

  • Restaurants may only be open for takeout or deliver, no in-facility dining.
  • Gatherings should be limited to 10 people.
  • Businesses are encouraged to promote telework when possible.

The new executive order can be found here. It expires May 22.

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