A pre-COVID evening at Whiskey Kitchen in DTR | Photo courtesy of Visit Raleigh

Gov. Roy Cooper Signs New Executive Order Further Easing COVID Restrictions

In Buzz, March 2021, Web Exclusive by Lauren Kruchten1 Comment

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WEB EXCLUSIVE North Carolina is going (more) places—with more people—effective this Friday, March 26, at 5pm! In a press conference today, March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper announced he is easing restrictions in response to the state’s improving COVID-19 metrics (e.g., fewer hospitalizations and positive COVID cases) and the fast and fair distribution of vaccines (NC is currently in Group 4 of the vaccine rollout), even increasing the maximum occupancy in several areas.

“North Carolina has done the work to slow the spread of this virus and get people vaccinated, and I’m grateful for the efforts of people across the state,” Cooper said in a press conference held Tuesday, March 23. “We want to strengthen our economy while keeping people safe, and it’s on all of us to make that happen.” To wit, the mask mandate will remain in effect, and individuals are encouraged to continue social distancing. 

Here, we take a look at some of the eased restrictions:

  • Museums, aquariums, retail businesses, shops, salons and personal care shops will be able to increase capacity up to 100% indoors and outdoors (with safety protocols in place).
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, amusement parks, gyms and pools, and other recreation establishments will be allowed to increase capacity up to 75% indoors and 100% outdoors.
  • Bars, conference centers and reception venues, sports arenas, and other venues for live performances will be able to increase capacity up to 50% both indoors and outdoors.
  • Starting Friday, the 11pm curfew for on-site alcohol sales will be fully lifted. 
  • The mass gathering limit will be increased to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

Cooper maintains that these significant changes must be done safely in order to keep making progress. “This pandemic is not over yet,” Cooper said in the press conference. “We’re only able to keep this virus in check while we ease restrictions if people act responsibly and follow safety protocols. For us to truly turn the corner and leave this pandemic behind, we have to stay strong until the very end.” Let’s do this, NC! Rise up!

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