NC’s Phase 2 reopening plan

Photo by overasheville

During a Wednesday evening press conference, Governor Cooper announced his plan to move into Phase 2 of his three-part reopening plan. Phase 2 starts today at 5 p.m. The second phase lifts the Stay at Home order that’s been in effect since March 27, replacing it with what the governor refers to as a “Safer At Home” directive. Today, we’re breaking down what that means. 

We entered Phase 1 two weeks ago, and during that time, officials watched trend lines to determine if metrics were increasing, decreasing, or stabilizing over time, using the data to determine when it would be safe to enter Phase 2. 

Science + data show that trends are stable, but we need to remain cautious and vigilant. While folks can now leave their homes, vulnerable populations are strongly encouraged to continue staying at home, and people who can work remotely are encouraged to do so. As for mass gatherings, they will be limited to 25 people outdoors and a maximum of 10 people indoors. Weddings + funerals are exempt from the cap limits, but receptions, visitations, etc. are not. Religious services + orgs are exempt. This includes event venues, conference centers, amphitheatres, and groups at parks/beaches. 

More modest than initially planned, Phase 2 is slated to last a minimum of five weeks and will run through at least June 26. Here’s what can open (at 50% capacity and with rigorous cleaning requirements) during this time: 

  • Restaurants for dine-in customers
  • Breweries
  • Personal care businesses (like beauty salons, barber shops, tattoo parlours + massage therapists
  • Public swimming pools
  • Overnight + day camps

Reopening bizzes like restaurants come with a slew of recommendations, but only some are legally enforceable. In addition to limiting occupancy to 50%, these include separating tables by at least six feet, marking six feet of spacing in lines, disinfecting tables + menus between each use, promoting frequent hand washing, and posting signage about reduced occupancy and social distancing. 

Some places won’t be able to open during Phase 2. These include: 

  • Nightclubs 
  • Bars
  • Gyms + indoor fitness facilities
  • Indoor entertainment venues (like movie theaters, museums + bowling alleys)
  • Public playgrounds
  • Amusement parks


To keep trends stable, officials highlighted the importance of “the three Ws” 1) wear a mask, 2) wait six feet apart, and 3) wash hands frequently. 

While not part of Gov. Cooper’s Phase 2 plan, it’s important to note that last night Buncombe County commissioners voted to require all employees + customers in public settingslike restaurants and retail stores — to wear face masks.

How do you feel about the Phase 2 plan of reopening? Tell us your thoughts about it below. 👇