Gov. Cooper issues statewide nightly stay-at-home order

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Gov. Roy Cooper holds media briefing in regards to COVID-19 within the state on Dec. 1, 2020. (Photo: WWAY)

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — At an afternoon news conference, Gov. Roy Cooper expressed concern about exploding case counts and COVID-19 metrics moving in the wrong direction.

Gov. Cooper announced a modified stay-at-home order. It starts Friday and will last through January 8.

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“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Gov. Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”

The order imposes new measures that would close non-essential businesses like gyms, restaurants, and retail at 10 p.m. nightly, and allow them to reopen at 5 a.m.

However, travel to and from work, to get food, medical care, fuel, or social services, or to take care of a family member are exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.

The new restrictions also include moving the alcohol curfew to 9 p.m. – a two-hour change. The order will expire on January 8.

Gov. Cooper says further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment, or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols.

“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Watch the 3 p.m. announcement live here.

COVID-19 cases within the last two weeks in Cape Fear:

Bladen: 538
Brunswick: 389
Columbus: 667
New Hanover: 418
Pender: 325

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.