North Carolina: Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions as State Trends Stabilize

North Carolina - Staying Ahead of the Curve. Source: Office of the Governor
North Carolina - Staying Ahead of the Curve. Source: Office of the Governor

As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, the Governor announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions.  Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26, 2021 at 5pm, and will expire March 26, 2021 at 5pm.

Said Governor Roy Cooper: “Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day. We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”

Said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.:  “Keep wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands. We’ve seen in the past how fragile progress can be, so we need to keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot.”

Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.

 30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)

  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields*
  • Venues*

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit 

  • Restaurants
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.

Today marks the first day of eligibility for teachers to receive vaccination as the state begins to expand access to group 3 essential workers. Due to manufacturers’ shipping delays caused by inclement weather, DHHS continues to work with providers to administer both last week’s shipment and this week’s shipment this week and continue to exhaust first dose supply before next week’s shipment arrives.

See Executive Order No. 195. (PDF)

For more information on Covid-19, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov.

 

Source: Ford Porter, NC Office of the Governor

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