RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday afternoon said North Carolina will enter Phase One of easing restrictions on Friday at 5 p.m.
A modified stay-at-home order will remain in place until this new executive order expires May 22.
“But if our indicators are not in the right place, we’ll extend Phase One longer than two weeks. We are easing restrictions in a data-driven way,” Cooper said at a news conference.
Certain retailers will be allowed to fill to 50 percent of its capacity with social distancing – it is currently 20 percent.
Restaurants will still be closed to in-room dining in Phase One. Bars, salons and theaters will remain closed through this phase.
“Phase One is designed to be a limited easing of restrictions that can give people safe opportunities to socialize and boost parts of our economy while keeping important safety restrictions in place. And we can only boost our economy when people have confidence in their safety,” the governor said.
Employers are still encouraged to telework if possible under Phase One.
Worship services of 10 or more people will be allowed to happen outside with proper distancing.
Cooper said it concerns him that some may not take safety restrictions as serious after Friday at 5 p.m.
Cooper said the good news is that the efforts of those across the state to slow the spread of COVID-19 is doing just that.
“We must be cautious and methodical with plans to ease restrictions. Removing them all at once would cause a surge in new cases, more people in the hospital and more North Carolinians dying. We have to keep taking precautions to keep people safe, but we can’t stay at home forever,” Cooper said.
North Carolina Deparment of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said North Carolina has flattened the curve.
“We’ve never had a spike or a surge,” she said.
She also said the number of tests being performed has double in just a matter of weeks.
Earlier Tuesday, NCDHHS announced 12,256 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 99 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
A total of 452 deaths are being attributed to the virus.
Avery County, located on the border with Tennessee, is the lone county without a confirmed case of COVID-19.