Gov. Cooper Announces Phase 2 of North Carolina Reopening
Governor Roy Cooper announced today details of the “Safer at Home” Phase Two of the reopening of North Carolina, which the will begin at 5:00 p.m. this Friday, May 22, but strongly stressed a more “modest step forward” than originally anticipated, urging businesses to move slowly and cautiously amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, even as the state has “flattened the curve”.
“Just because you can go more places, doesn’t mean you always should,” said Cooper during Wednesday’s (5/20/20) press conference.
In Phase Two, under the new Safer at Home guidelines, restaurants can offer indoor dining at 50% capacity, as can salons and barbers, swimming pools, and child care facilities, all of which must comply with face covering and cleaning requirements. Local governments may enact more strict rules if they deem it’s in the best interest of their community to do so.
“We’ve still got some work to do in slowing the spread of this virus, and we all need to work together to do it,” said Cooper.
Phase Two will continue for at least five weeks.
Under today’s Executive Order, the Stay at Home order is lifted, while “individuals are strongly encouraged to telework to the greatest extent permissible by their employer.”
When people are outside their homes, they are strongly encouraged to take the following Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission:
1. Maintain at least six (6) feet social distancing from other individuals, with the exception of family or household members.
2. Wear a cloth Face Covering when leaving home and wear it inside all public settings such as grocery stores, pharmacies, or other retail or public-serving businesses. A Face Covering should also be worn outdoors when you cannot maintain at least six feet distancing from other people with the exception of family or household members. These coverings function to protect other people more than the wearer.
3. Carry hand sanitizer with you when leaving home, and use it frequently.
4. Wash hands using soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds as frequently as possible.
5. Regularly clean high-touch surfaces such as steering wheels, wallets, and phones.
6. Stay at home if sick.
Exemptions from this Executive Order include worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights, but the entities and individuals engaging in all of those exemptions are strongly urged that follow the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission as listed above, avoid exceeding Emergency Maximum Occupancy in the places where they meet, and avoid holding mass gatherings.
Read on for the full official press release.
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.
“North Carolina is using the data to guide our decisions about when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, and overall our key indicators remain stable,” said Governor Cooper. “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.”
“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen.
Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.
Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
- North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS testing information website.
- The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Supply chains continue to improve.
What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?
Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.
Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.
Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys.
Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings.
Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level.
Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.
The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.