Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday that he’s extending his Phase 2 “Safer At Home” directive through July 17 — another three weeks. The announcement came the day after the state saw its second-highest increase of daily confirmed cases since the pandemic began. Yesterday also marked the state’s second-highest day for hospitalizations.
In addition to extending Phase 2, the governor also announced that face coverings are now required in public — both indoors + outdoors — where social distancing is not possible. They will also be mandatory for customers + employees of retail businesses, public transit, restaurants, grooming and personal care, agriculture, and meat processing facilities.
North Carolina entered Phase 2 of the governor’s three phase plan to reopen the state May 22. Phase 2 lifted the statewide Stay Home, Stay Safe Order and allowed non-essential businesses — including public swimming pools, beauty salons, barber shops, tattoo parlours + restaurants for dine-in customers — to reopen at 50% capacity and with intensive cleaning schedules. Moving into Phase 3 would have meant businesses that had previously remained closed — including bars, nightclubs, indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, public playgrounds, and gyms + indoor fitness facilities — would be allowed to reopen.
Governor Cooper cited the troubling increase in cases and hospitalizations and the state’s risk of overwhelming hospital capacity as motivation for his directives. He also noted that stabilizing + decreasing trends is also vital in order to get kids back into school come fall. He says he will assess + announce plans on reopening schools in the coming weeks.