Governor extends North Carolina stay-home order until May 8

Gov. Roy Cooper at a briefing on March 25, 2020. [photo courtesy Office of the Governor]

Gov. Roy Cooper this afternoon extended North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and non-essential business closures through May 8. The original executive order was set to expire April 29.

The order continues to keep restaurants closed to dine-in customers as well as other close-contact businesses such as hair and nail salons and movie theaters.

“This decision is based on the data that we see in our critical categories. I know people want our lives and our livelihoods back, and I have a plan to do that. But first we will need to hit certain metrics in order to do that,” Cooper said. “… I will not risk the health of our people or our hospitals and easing these restrictions now would do that.”

Cooper said an announcement about the school year will be made tomorrow.

The governor presented a plan about how North Carolina can gradually re-open over three phases to prevent hot spots of viral spread while also beginning to bring our economy back. These phases are based on the best information available now, but could be altered as new information emerges.

In Phase 1:

Modify the Stay At Home order allow travel not currently defined as essential allowing people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware stores and other retailers.
Ensure that any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation
Continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people
Reopen parks that have been closed subject to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.
Continue to recommend face coverings in public spaces when 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible
Encourage employers to continue teleworking policies
Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings
Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures may remain in place.

Phase 2

At least 2-3 weeks after Phase 1

Lift Stay At Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home to stay safe
Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses that can follow safety protocols including the potential need to reduce capacity
Allow gathering at places such as houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity
Increase in number of people allowed at gatherings
Open public playgrounds
Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings

Phase 3

At least 4-6 weeks after Phase 2

Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations with encouragement to continue practicing physical distancing and minimizing exposure to settings where distancing isn’t possible
Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues
Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings
Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at