Report: Gov. Cooper plans to announce easing of some COVID-19 restrictions

Illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to announce Tuesday some easing of COVID-19 restrictions in place since earlier this year.

Cooper’s spokeswoman, Dory MacMillan, told WRAL in an email “the Governor expects to share information about the next phase of easing restrictions tomorrow, which would take effect later this week.” She didn’t elaborate.

North Carolina has been in Phase 2 of Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen businesses and resume social activities during the pandemic since late May. Three times, he has pushed back the timetable for moving into the final phase, saying infections and virus-related hospitalizations and deaths were still trending upward and hadn’t stabilized enough.

North Carolina has remained in coronavirus “Phase 2” restrictions since May, with nightclubs, bar, gyms and other fitness facilities ordered to remain closed. And 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales has also remained in place, as well as a mandate requiring face masks in public places. Phase 2 also requires restaurants and retail stores will remain at half-capacity.

The governor has pushed back the reopening timetable three times as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths failed to flatten.

Cooper’s Phase 2 order runs through Sept. 11.

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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