RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Protesters will once again return to downtown Raleigh today demanding Gov. Roy Cooper “reopen” the state sooner amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be the fourth straight Tuesday of protests.
Last week’s ReOpen NC protest ended with multiple arrests.
The protesters could get their wish – sort of – this week. Cooper said on Monday that we could learn as early as today if “Phase One” of the state’s reopening plan will begin on Friday.
If Cooper moves forward with phase one of the reopening plan that does not mean the stay-at-home order is immediately lifted. The order was extended until this Friday.
Under the first phase, parks will reopen, along with some non-essential businesses – but they’ll have to maintain social distancing and following strict cleaning protocols.
The limit on mass gatherings will remain in place. Rigth now, no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed under the order.
Even if phase one begins Friday, it would still be two or three weeks before houses of worship and restaurants can reopen with limited seating – and that’s if the trend of COVID-19 cases continue how state health officials hope they will.
Cooper has said he was optimistic about moving forward with phase one of the plan but continued to stress safety. He also made it clear this virus doesn’t know county lines and that’s why everyone has to do their part in slowing the spread of the virus.
“If we don’t make sure it’s safe and we don’t bring people along with us – then it won’t work the way that we want it to,” Cooper said Monday.
Even if phase one begins this week, individual businesses can still institute their own safety policies, something that ReOpen NC leaders have taken issue with recently.
On Monday, one leader of the group called for a boycott of Costco and Whole Foods because the two companies are requiring customers to wear face masks while shopping.
Last week, dozens of restaurant owners sent a letter to Cooper asking him not to reopen restaurants until it’s safe to no longer have a limit on how many customers can be served at a time.
Today’s protest is expected to begin around 11 a.m.
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