Saying “our numbers are too high,” Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that North Carolina will stay in Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions, and has adjusted the indoor gathering limit from 25 to 10.
“I know North Carolinians are creative and will find amazing ways to celebrate the holidays while still keeping our communities safe. Find a way that works for your family and know that your sacrifice is helping all of our state,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the state has 297,442 cases; 2,582 new cases reported since yesterday; 1,230 people in the hospital and 4,660 people who’ve died.
“Our trends have avoided spikes but they remain stubbornly high,” Cooper said. “That is troubling. Other states have experienced spikes that have jumped quickly on them and their hospitals, causing more sickness and death. To avoid that, we need to focus on bringing our numbers down.”
The way to do that, Cooper says, is to wear a mask, wash your hands and wait six feet apart.
“The science shows that the transmission of this virus is much greater indoors,” Cooper said. “And the more people who are gathered, the easier this virus can spread. We saw increasing spread from social gatherings in October.”
With Thanksgiving two weeks away, Cooper urged North Carolinians to keep safety in mind as people make plans. The state has issued some guidance on how to handle Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping over the next few weeks.
“I want North Carolinians to keep something else in mind as plans come together,” Cooper said. “This pandemic will end. A vaccine is in the final stages of development and the FDA has authorized a promising new treatment. Hope is on the horizon. This pandemic will – not – last – forever.”
Cooper also announced a new source of financial assistance for restaurants, which struggled with the shutdown and are still struggling with 50-percent capacity. Starting Thursday, full-service restaurants seeking help with rent payments or mortgage interest may apply to @NCCommerce for up to $20,000.