Governor extends eviction moratorium; urges people not to gather for New Year’s Eve

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper speaks at a briefing on Nov. 17, 2020 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. [NCDPS photo]

Gov. Roy Cooper today announced an extension of North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions through Jan. 31, saying the state is expected to receive about $700 million in federal funds to help struggling renters stay in their homes.

“Too many families are living on the edge, trying to do the right thing, but left with impossible choices,” Cooper said. “This will help them stay in their homes which is essential to slow the spread.”

Cooper’s administration created the HOPE fund to help renters and landlords who depend on rental incomes make ends meet. HOPE provides payments to landlords and utility companies directly and over 21,000 renters so far have been notified that they’ll receive help amounting to $37.4 million.

The overwhelming need for this assistance versus the money the state had meant the HOPE Program had to stop taking applications, but with help from Washington on the way, the program will soon be back up and running.

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Cooper also warned that although COVID-19 vaccines have begun among health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents and staff, the need to stop the spread continues.

“We have to protect ourselves and each other every day, every week, every month. The vaccines offer hope, but this hope will take time to fulfill. We continue to distribute the vaccines across the state as quickly as we get them,” he said.

He reminded North Carolinians that the state’s curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains in effect, even on New Year’s Eve, and that gatherings continue to be a major source of virus spread.

Cooper said the White House Coronavirus Task Force stresses that gatherings of people not wearing masks, public or private, simply are not safe.

“We must take these recommendations from the White House and all safety precautions seriously. As our fatality numbers show starkly, this is a matter of life or death,” he 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 kpugh@jammediallc.com