RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina will move to Phase Two of its reopening on Friday but in a more cautious way, the governor announced Wednesday.
Phase Two will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
“Phase Two is another careful step forward. Since we announced Phase One, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable. However, the increases in COVID-19 cases signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase Two than originally envisioned,” Cooper said.
The mass gathering limits in Phase Two will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. This applies to event venues, conference centers, stadiums and sports arenas.
Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements. Restaurants can re-open for dine-in customers at mostly a 50 percent capacity, with distancing and cleaning requirements.
“Personal care businesses like salons and barbers can also re-open at 50-percent capacity. These businesses will have face covering and cleaning requirements while also reducing the number of people in the waiting areas,” he said.
Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.
Phase Two will last until at least June 26.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, addressed key metrics on Wednesday that the state has been monitoring.
She said most trends are stable, but North Carolina needs to remain cautious.
“This virus is still a serious threat. But North Carolinians have made changes and sacrifices in their daily lives and that has helped to flatten the curve here,” the governor said.
North Carolina currently has 20,122 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 277,603 completed tests.
A total of 702 deaths are being blamed on the virus.
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a statement concerning the state’s shift to Phase Two – saying he was glad the governor responded to business owners and others who wanted to get back to work.
“When I asked Gov. Cooper to reopen restaurants and personal care services last week, the Governor said it wasn’t safe to do so. But according to data for yesterday, when the Governor began notifying people of his decision, North Carolina had more cases, more hospitalizations, and fewer tests performed than when I issued my call last week.
“It seems strange that it was unsafe to reopen last week, but it’s safe to reopen now with worse numbers. This gets back to the central question of what strategy is driving the Governor’s actions. What goal does he think is achievable?
“Unfortunately, Gov. Cooper has hidden behind pre-screened virtual press briefings for the entirety of this emergency, making public accountability nearly impossible.”Sen. Phil Berger
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