Governor announces N.C. will move into ‘careful’ Phase 2.5

Gov. Roy Cooper prepares to take off his Carolina Hurricanes mask before speaking during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, on July 1, 2020. [photo courtesy NCDPS]

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that North Carolina will move into pandemic reopening “Phase 2.5” beginning Friday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m.

“Because of our stable numbers, today we are ready to take a careful step forward,” Cooper said.

Here’s what will happen:

— The state’s at-risk population is still safer at home. For those over 65 and those with health risks, health officials urge responsibility in your choices.

— The limits on mass gatherings will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

— Playgrounds will be allowed to open.

— Museums and aquariums can open at 50 percent capacity.

— Gyms and other indoor exercise facilities can open at 30 percent capacity.

— The age requirement for mask wearing will include children down to age 5.

Many businesses will remain closed, including bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment and amusement parks. Large venues will still be subject to the mass gathering limits.

As announced yesterday, the 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants has been extended to Oct. 2. Safer at Home Phase 2.5 continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing some restrictions.

“Most of you are showing you know how to fight this disease,” Cooper said. “Remember, every time you wear your mask and social distance … you’re saving lives and you’re slowing the spread.”

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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 [email protected]