Gov. Roy Cooper signs executive order further restricting ‘essential’ businesses

RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order on Thursday adding ‘guard rails’ to the statewide stay-at-home order for essential businesses. The order follows additional directives for nursing homes after outbreaks at close to 20 different congregate living facilities.

The new regulations are aimed at keeping social distancing measures in place at these locations. The new rules include restricting store capacity to 20% of the total store capacity, mandates no more than five customers per every 1,000 square feet of store space, makes shopping aisles one-way, orders markings to keep customers six feet apart, and shopping times set aside for senior citizens and at-risk populations. The order also requires frequent cleaning of stores and shields for cashiers and checkouts. 

“We know that when we make these sacrifices now, we put our state one day closer to coming out of this pandemic saving as many lives as possible” said Gov. Cooper. 

In addition, the order also temporarily removes more regulatory hurdles to unemployment claims to process them faster. The order makes it easier for employers to file batch claims on behalf of their employees, known as an attached claim. The Division of Employment Security has also received updated guidance from the federal government on how to disburse the supplemental $600 weekly benefit and those payments are expected to begin by the end of next week. Time is critical and precious for those who are out of work.

As of Thursday afternoon, the state has 3,676 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 70 deaths. 

The full executive order can be read here