Governor Roy Cooper

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announces the stay-at-home order during a briefing on March 27 at the State of North Carolina Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh.

Following stable indicators and trends throughout Phase 1 of the stay-at-home order, Governor Roy Cooper announced today North Carolina will enter a safer-at-home Phase 2 on May 22 at 5 p.m.

During a press conference, Cooper said North Carolinians have made significant changes and sacrifices to help flatten the curve in North Carolina. He said the virus is still a serious threat, and Phase 2 will continue to be a careful step forward. 

“Since we announced Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable,” Cooper said. “However, the increases in COVID-19 cases signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.” 

Cooper said he will be lifting the stay-at-home order, and a safer-at-home recommendation is taking its place. He said this is especially important for vulnerable people who are at risk for severe illness. 

While some businesses may re-open at reduced capacity during Phase 2, some businesses such as bars, night clubs, gyms and indoor fitness and entertainment facilities will remain closed, according to Cooper. 

“Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements. Restaurants can re-open for dine-in customers at mostly a 50% capacity, with distancing and cleaning requirements,” Cooper said. 

Personal care businesses and swimming pools will be able to open at 50% capacity, according to Cooper. He said the mass gathering limit will be a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 

Cooper said the three W’s are even more important with Phase 2: wash your hands, wait six feet apart and wear a face covering.

“As with previous orders, these restrictions are a floor. Local governments may enact more strict rules if health officials and local leaders believe it’s the best interest of their communities,” Cooper said.

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