RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina must keep fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with the right weapons.

Cooper has signed a new executive order that has two changes that will help fight the spread of coronavirus.

He said some restaurants did not follow his guidance from the weekend to keep customers apart so he has ordered them now to close. The measure is effective starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

However, takeout and delivery orders can continue.

“I realize this order will cost some people their jobs,” Cooper said.

The governor said Tuesday’s executive order has five important changes to unemployment requirements in North Carolina:

  • No one-week waiting period
  • Removes the requirement to look for another job
  • Allows employees whose hours have cut to apply for unemployment
  • Allows citizens to apply for benefits remotely
  • Employers will not be held responsible for claims during outbreak

Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said the state has $3.8 billion in reserves for unemployment – one of the largest reserves in the country.

“We are in unprecedented times,” Cooper said.

Cooper confirmed North Carolina currently has 40 cases of the disease and no coronavirus-related deaths.

Dr. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the 40 positive tests were performed at labs all over North Carolina, not just the state lab.

Cohen said more than 1,100 tests have been completed and thousands more are “in the pipeline” to be tested.

This will be the second executive order from Cooper during the pandemic.

The first closed all public K-12 schools for two weeks starting Monday. It also banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

The ban on gatherings of 100 or more will stay in place for now and will be enforced by law enforcement.

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