North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announces the earlier executive order requiring restaurants and bars eliminate all dining area service, but allowing takeout and delivery, on March 17, 2020 in Raleigh, N.C. (Mehmet Demirci/Zuma Press/TNS)

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today the state will continue Phase 2 of the stay-at-home order until July 17 and has required the use of face coverings as part of the Executive Order.

Cooper said during a press conference there have been 1,721 new cases reported and 906 people in the hospital as of today, which is the second highest day in both categories since the pandemic started. He said since May 19, the number of people hospitalized has increased 56%.

“Doctors and health care experts have warned that hospital capacity can be overwhelmed in the blink of an eye and once we see that capacity is gone, it can be too late to reverse the tide,” Cooper said.

It is clear from data North Carolina’s numbers will keep the state from moving into the next phase of easing restrictions, according to Cooper. He said Phase 2 will be extended for another three weeks. Phase 2 is now set to expire on July 17.

Cooper said people are now required to wear face coverings in public, with the exceptions of children under the age of 11, people with medical conditions and people who are out walking or exercising with a six foot distance.

“People must wear face coverings when in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where physical distancing of six feet from other people who aren’t in the same household or residence is possible,” Cooper said.

The face covering requirement is to make sure the state is able to stabilize numbers and continue to safely ease restrictions, Cooper said. He said it is important to note face coverings will not bring any harm to the economy and will only help further the safety of the people.

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