North Carolina Governor extends Shelter at Home order another week

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WDEF) — North Carolina’s stay at home order has been extended.

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that it will continue until May 8.

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He says he’s developed a three-stage plan to reopen that moves forward in stimulating the economy and protecting residents’ health.

In the first phase, Governor Cooper says even with the order still in place, residents will now be able to shop at clothing or sporting goods stores, book shops, and other retailers.

Parks can re-open, as long they limit mass gatherings to 10 people or less.

For phase two a couple of weeks later, the governor says if the state continues to hit its marks, the stay at home order will be lifted, but vulnerable populations will still be encouraged to stay at home.

Churches, restaurants, bars, and other businesses can open as long as they operate at reduced capacity.

For phase three, Cooper says if the state continues to hit its marks four to six weeks later, capacity at bars, restaurants and churches will increase. Guidance impacting vulnerable populations will loosen.

Governor Cooper says in all phases, strict rules will still apply to nursing homes and congregate living facilities.

He says if coronavirus cases start to spike, the state will move back to a previous phase to protect the public’s health.

Officials will continue to monitor data with business leaders when making any decisions.

FROM GOV. ROY COOPER TWITTER: We have developed a three-stage plan to move forward that stimulates the economy while protecting our health. While the Stay At Home order will continue until May 8, I want to share some details of our plan so people can understand how we’ll gradually ease these restrictions.

In the first phase, the Stay At Home order will stay in place, but it will be modified to allow more reasons to leave home, including commercial activities at any business allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops and other kinds of retailers.

Those retailers and services will still need to implement  social distancing for their employees and their customers, plus enhanced hygiene and cleaning, and to screen employees for symptoms.

Mass gatherings will stay limited to 10 people or less. Our parks can re-open if they follow the mass gathering limitation. Face coverings will still be recommended when social distancing isn’t possible. The same restrictions will remain in place for congregate living settings.

After a minimum of 2-3 weeks has passed & we continue to hit our marks, we can enter Phase 2. Here, the Stay At Home order can be lifted, but we will still encourage vulnerable populations to continue to stay at home.

Houses of worship, restaurants, bars and other businesses can open their doors for people as long as they operate at reduced capacity. The number of people allowed in a mass gathering will be increased.

After a minimum of 4-6 weeks has passed & we continue to hit our marks, we can enter Phase 3. Vulnerable population guidance will continue to loosen. There’ll be increased capacity at bars, restaurants, other businesses & houses of worship. The mass gathering ban will increase.

In all of these phases, strict rules will continue to apply to nursing homes and other congregate living facilities.

If infections spike or our benchmark trends start to move in the wrong direction, we may move to move back to a previous phase to protect our public health. We’ll continue using the best science & data available consulting with business leaders to make those decisions.