It is true; North Carolina is following South Carolina, Florida, and 26 other states in beginning the phases of reopening. After the unprecedented national shut down a few months ago, many states are now taking tentative steps to reinitiate life as it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
However, authorities are warning North Carolina residents that restrictions will not be lifted as quickly as they were initiated back in March. Normalcy will come in phases.
Phase one of three began on Friday, May 8th, at 5 PM. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen told North Carolinians that, though the stay-at-home order will remain in effect, residents will be allowed to venture out for some non-essential activities.
During phase one, social distancing and cleaning measures remain in effect across the board. However, restrictions have begun to lessen for some gathering places. National parks have reopened with restrictions on the number of people permitted in at a time, child care facilities have the ability reopened with strict cleaning requirements, and some retail stores are allowed to accept shoppers at 50% of their normal capacity. Friends are now allowed to meet outdoors in groups of ten or less, and worship services consisting of over 10 people are allowed to be held outdoors and while following social-distancing measures. However, restaurant dining rooms, playgrounds, entertainment venues, and salons remain closed.
Phase two is set to begin in two weeks (May 22). Governor Cooper expects to allow the limited reopening of all gathering places and businesses at that time. If COVID-19 cases remain under control and on a healthy, downward trajectory, the restrictions will continue to lessen as North Carolina reaches phase three.
These tentatively laid plans continue to depend on residents’ responsibility and adherence to safety measures. Governor Cooper feels that, as the cases of COVID-19 are on a downward trajectory in North Carolina, it is advisable to begin the reopening phases. However, it is as important as ever to keep yourselves and others safe as North Carolina joins the nation in restoring normalcy.