Gov. Cooper restricts gatherings from 25 to 10 people as COVID-19 spreads in NC


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper is tightening the restrictions on gatherings in the state as North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics trend in the wrong direction.

On Tuesday, Cooper said he is reducing the limit on indoor gatherings from 25 people to 10.

Read Executive Order 176

Cooper said the transmission of the virus is greater indoors. 

“We’re entering, I think, a very dangerous and potentially uncertain time here in the holidays as it gets colder. The virus wants to be more active indoors, so we’re ratcheting up the protection efforts out there,” Cooper said. 

The new executive order does not affect schools or universities but is aimed at social gatherings, Cooper said. It also does not apply to religious institutions or activities protected by the First Amendment.

In addition, it does not apply to businesses that already have established limits on capacity, such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. 

Cooper said the new limitation on indoor gatherings is primarily meant to target social gatherings.  

“This is where we have seen the clusters, particularly in October. This is where we’ve seen a large part of the outbreaks,” he said, adding that the goal “is to send a signal to those groups that this is a problem.” 

North Carolina will also stay in Phase 3 until at least Dec. 4, under the latest executive order. It’s the second time Cooper has extended Phase 3.  

“This pandemic will not last forever,” Cooper said. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen said North Carolina is on “shaky ground” as Thanksgiving approaches. 

She urged everyone to avoid traveling and to wear a mask around anyone who does not live in the same home.

For people who do decide to travel for the holidays, officials encourage people to get a COVID-19 test at least three to four days ahead of time.  

Cohen also encouraged people to download the SlowCOVIDNC app, which informs people if they’ve been in close contact with someone who has shared through the app that they tested positive. 

North Carolina added another 2,582 lab-confirmed cases of the disease on Tuesday.

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