RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced what he called a “modified stay-at-home order” that will take effect on Friday, Dec. 11.
“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Gov. Cooper said from the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. “Our new modified stay-at-home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”
Under the order, North Carolinians are required to stay at home and travel only for work or to obtain essential goods or services during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. through Jan. 8, 2021. Worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights continue to remain exempt from the order.
The order does not apply to retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, fuel, or health care supplies.
“Our case counts have broken single-day records in three separate days last week,” Cooper said during Tuesday’s briefing.
Among the new measures that will be implemented are the closure of indoor rides and attractions and non-bar night spots and arenas are restricted to 25 guests per facility. Mass gatherings limits remain unchanged, continuing at 10 individuals indoors and 50 individuals outdoors.
Additionally, a prohibition on alcohol service for on-site consumption will begin at 9:00 p.m. instead of the current restriction beginning at 11:00 p.m. Events outside of homes must also end no later than 10:00 p.m. including live entertainment events, movie screenings, and youth and amateur sporting events. However, professional and collegiate sporting events may continue after 10:00 p.m.
Cooper also previewed further action, saying additional restrictions would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. The governor’s statement said it could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions.
N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services secretary Mandy Cohen also provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (defined as critical community spread) has more than doubled since Nov. 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (defined as substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier.
“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said Cohen.