Gov. Cooper’s new Executive Order changes social distancing rules for stores

Gov. Roy Cooper announces new executive order regarding retail stores on April 9, 2020

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper announced during a news conference on Thursday that he is signing a new executive order that makes changes to guidelines for shopping at grocery and retail stores.

Effective Monday at 5 p.m., stores may not have a number of people inside at one time that is more than 20-percent of the stated fire capacity or either 5 people for every 1000 sq feet.

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“This should make shopping safer for customers and retail employees and help prevent stores from becoming flash points for virus transmission,” Cooper said.

The stores must also mark 6 feet of distance where people need to gather, like checkout lines. The stores must also practice routine cleaning and disinfection.

“There are still essential reasons to leave the house like groceries or medication. We want to make sure they’re safe for everyone so no one is afraid to go out for basic necessities,” Cooper said.

Though not mandated, the order asks retailers to set aside shopping times for seniors and at-risk people, use shields at checkouts and mark aisles one way to limit traffic.

Additionally, another part of the Executive Order mandates protective measures for nursing homes that were previously recommended as guidance. Dining and group activities in common spaces are not prohibited. The Order also requires face masks for employees and requires nursing homes to screen employees and residents for sickness.

The third part of the Executive Order requires additional measures that will get more unemployment claims processed faster. It makes it easier for employers to file a batch of claims on behalf of employees.

“It eliminates hurdles for employers to get benefits in the hands of those that need it, faster,” Cooper said.

Since March 16, the Division of Employment Security has accepted 497,000  unemployment claims. So far, the state has sent 40.3 million to NC residents.

Read the full Order.