RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina’s Stay at Home Order has been extended to May 8, Governor Roy Cooper announced during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“It’s clear we are flattening the curve, but our state is not ready to lift restrictions yet. We need more time to slow the spread of the virus before we ease restrictions,” Cooper said.
This extension includes the closure of dine-in restaurants, and also businesses like nail salons, hair salons, movie theaters and other businesses included in the previous executive order. That order was originally set to expire on April 29.
Cooper acknowledged the need to reopen the economy, but says we’re not ready to fully reopen yet.
“I will not risk the health of our people or our hospitals, and easing these restrictions now would do that,” he said.
NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said it’s clear NC has flattened the curve.
“We have slowed the rate of acceleration for the virus. It is taking longer for our cases to double,” Cohen said.
Cohen also laid out testing and tracing trends of the virus and what the state will be looking at moving forward before restrictions are lifted.
Cohen said today is one of the second highest days of reported new cases the state has seen.
“When we look at trajectory of cases over 14 days, we’re still going up,” she said. “That’s not where we want to be.”
Cooper also announced how NC would gradually reopen over three phases.
- Stay at Home order remains in place, people can leave home for commercial activity
- Those retailers and services will need to implement social distancing, cleaning and other protocols
- Gatherings limited to no more than 10 people
- Parks can open subject to gathering limits
- Face coverings recommended in public
- Restrictions remain in place for nursing homes and other congregate living settins
- Encourage continued teleworking
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
- Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, and other businesses that can follow strict safety protocols (reduced capacity)
- Allow gathering at 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 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
Testing, tracing and trends to move in the right direction for each phase to move forward. If there is a spike in infections, tightening of restrictions may be needed temporarily.
A detailed look at where North Carolina stands on testing, tracing and trends and more information about the three-phase plan can be found here.
If we enter these phases, and trends start to move backwards, Cooper says they may need to re evaluate certain restrictions.
“If we keep protecting ourselves, and go back to work and play carefully, we can rebuild the damage this virus has done to our state,” he said.
Information about K-12 public schools will be announced on Friday.