Gyms, playgrounds now open as NC moves to Phase 2.5 of reopening

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s official, North Carolina has moved to Phase 2.5 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s “Safer at Home” reopening plan.

The move was made official at 5 p.m. on Friday.

According to the order, gyms may operate at 30 percent capacity while museums and aquariums can open to 50 percent capacity.

The announcement came on Tuesday, the same day major fitness chains Planet Fitness and Crunch opened their doors for the first time, citing an exception outlined by the state Attorney General’s Office allowing people to use the facilities for a medical purpose. Managers said they are not asking for a medical note. 

Playgrounds may reopen as well in addition to bowling alleys, skating rinks, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, rock climbing gyms and indoor basketball and volleyball facilities.  

The age requirement for mask wearing will include children down to age 5.

“Some places will remain closed including bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment and amusement parks,” Cooper said. “Large venues will still be subject to the mass gathering limits. We know big gatherings are among the most dangerous settings for transmission of this deadly virus.”

Capacity limits at restaurants and personal care businesses such as hair and nail salons will stay the same. For all of these, there will be additional safety measures required.

“So let’s keep doing what we know works. Let’s stay strong, and let’s beat this virus. I know we can, and I know we can come out stronger on the other side,” Cooper said.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the number of people going to the emergency room with COVID-like symptoms has been declining for a month.

“Overall metrics show signs of stability,” Cohen said.

Cohen said the trajectory of cases was head down until mid-August when there was a spike among 18-25-year-olds due to colleges and universities going back to class.

The number of new daily cases remains high.

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