Gov. Cooper Signs Order To Begin Phase One Reopening Friday In NC

NORTH CAROLINA — Five weeks after a statewide stay-at-home order went into effect in North Carolina to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, the state will begin easing restrictions on businesses this week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

The move comes in the form of a new modified stay-at-home order that also encourages residents to wear masks when away from their homes and continue teleworking when possible.

“We believe the data shows us now is the time to begin easing restrictions,” Cooper said during a press briefing Tuesday evening.

“We have flattened the curve, but we haven’t eliminated COVID-19,” Cooper said. “We’ll continue the stay-at-home order because its best for people stay at home, especially those with underlying health conditions.”

Tuesday North Carolina public health officials also released data indicating that more than half of the state’s adult population is considered at higher risk for severe illness from new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

The new Phase One order, which Cooper signed Tuesday, goes into effect Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m., and will remain in effect until May 22. If indicators are not in the right place, however, the first phase of easing restrictions will extend past two weeks, Cooper said.

As of Tuesday morning, 452 people in North Carolina have died due to coronavirus-related illness and 12,256 cases confirmed, according to data provided by North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services. Hospitalizations rose by 36 patients overnight to 534.

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Cooper has said loosening current restrictions that are set to expire May 8 would be determined by progress in testing, tracing and a downward change in trends.

Those metrics, which include the trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases, the percent of positive cases compared to the total number of tests and the number of hospitalizations, are all relatively stable, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said.

“We still want you to stay home,” Cohen said.

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Under the new order, most businesses will be allowed to reopen, however some businesses, such as bars, gyms, salons and movie theaters, will remain closed.

Phase One will:

“Phase One is designated and designed to be a limited easing of restrictions that can give people safe opportunities to socialize and boost parts of our economy while keeping important safety restrictions in place,” Cooper said. “We can only boost our economy when people have confidence in their safety.”


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