4-24-2020 – Governor sets plan to reopen businesses

Posted on: April 24th, 2020 by admin


April 18, 2020



By Paul B. Johnson
High Point Enterprise

Apr 23, 2020 8:50 PM


Gov. Roy Cooper has extended the stay-at-home and other coronavirus emergency orders until May 8.


The governor implemented the orders last month. They were set to expire April 29.


At a briefing in Raleigh on Thursday, the governor said the state is making progress on slowing the spread of COVID-19 cases but not enough to lift restrictions now. However, Cooper outlined how he envisions people in the state and region returning in stages over a period of about two months to activities such as dining at restaurants, shopping at stores and gathering in larger numbers at events and during other activities.


State schools remain under an order to remain closed through May 15. Cooper said that he would have an update on the public schools closure today.


“The health and safety of people in North Carolina must be our top priority. This plan provides a roadmap for us to begin easing restrictions in stages to push our economy forward,” the governor said.


Cooper outlined how the restrictions will be lifted in phases, such as limited opening of restaurants with reduced capacity and allowing people out for more commercial activity. The mass gathering ban will be eased incrementally to allow for activities, the governor said.


Based on the progress countering the COVID-19 spread, the governor outlined a three-phase process for easing stay-at-home and other restrictions.


Phase one:


  • Modify the stay-at-home order to allow people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware stores and other retailers.
  • Ensure that any stores that open will implement social distancing, hygiene and cleaning protocols and COVID-19 symptom screening of employees.
  • Continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.
  • Reopen parks that have been closed, but subject them to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.
  • Continue to recommend face coverings in public spaces when six feet of distancing isn’t possible.
  • Encourage employers to continue teleworking policies.
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings.


Phase two, implemented at least two to three weeks after phase one:


  • Lift stay-at-home order while encouraging vulnerable populations to continue staying at home.
  • Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services and other businesses that can follow safety protocols, including possibly reducing capacity.
  • Allow gathering at places such as houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity.
  • Increase the number of people allowed at gatherings.
  • Open public playgrounds.
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings.


Phase three, implemented at least four to six weeks after phase two:


  • Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations while encouraging 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.


If the coronavirus trends move in an ominous direction, then the state may have to return to tighter restrictions, Cooper said. And the governor said life won’t return to what was considered normal in the near future.


“We won’t go back to life like it was in January and February any time soon,” Cooper cautioned.

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