Gov. Cooper orders statewide curfew beginning Friday

Gov. Roy Cooper at a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 8. [Screengrab from UNC-TV]

Gov. Roy Cooper today announced a statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Friday in an attempt to slow the rampant spread of COVID-19.

The modified stay-at-home order will require most stores and restaurants to close by 10 p.m., with all onsite alcohol sales ending by 9 p.m. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open later.

“It means just what it says: people are to stay at home between those hours,” Cooper said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask mandate. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down. This order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they’re safer.”

As of today, North Carolina had had 404,032 cases with 4,670 new cases reported since yesterday and 2,373 people in the hospital, a new record high.

Cooper said the state will do more if trends don’t improve. That could mean additional actions involving indoor restaurant dining, entertainment facilities or retail capacity.

“None of us want that,” Cooper said.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kari@www.obxtoday.com