Understanding the Stay-at-Home Order Extension, Phases
If all goes well, restrictions will begin to ease May 9
Governor Roy Cooper today extended the statewide Stay-at-Home Order to May 8, from its original April 29 end date. (Read more about what that order means here.) Provided COVID-19 cases subside, Cooper also announced a gradual reopening of businesses and public gatherings over the next few months, summarized below:
Phase 1: The first phase begins on May 8 at 5 p.m. Under a modified Stay-at-Home Order, restrictions are altered “to allow more reasons to leave home, including commercial activities at any business allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops and other kinds of retailers.” Social distancing will remain in place; the state will require enhanced cleaning and employee screening. Mass gatherings are still limited to 10 people or less; parks will reopen as long as people observe the limit.
Phase 2: If “we continue to hit our marks,” the second phase begins two to three weeks later (sometime between May 23-30). The state lifts the Stay-at-Home Order, although “vulnerable populations” are still encouraged to stay home. Houses of worship, bars, restaurants, and other businesses reopen at reduced capacity. The mass gathering limit will increase.
Phase 3: If virus cases continue to subside, the third phase begins four to six weeks after Phase 2 concludes (sometime between June 20-July 11): increased capacity for all businesses and houses of worship, another rise in the mass gathering limit, and loosening of guidance for vulnerable populations.
Those actions, phases, and dates depend on the virus staying at bay, Cooper added. “If infections spike or our benchmark trends start to move in the wrong direction, we may move to move back to a previous phase to protect our public health,” he said on Twitter. “We’ll continue using the best science & data available consulting with business leaders to make those decisions.”