August 6, 2020
Yesterday, Governor Cooper announced that he was extending Phase II of his three-part COVID-19 plan for an additional five weeks. This extension will expire on September 11, 2020.
North Carolina moved from the Phase I stay-at-home order to Phase II on May 22, when some businesses were allowed to open. Under Phase II, restaurants, retail establishment, and personal care salons are open at a limited capacity, while gyms, bars, and various entertainment facilities remain closed. Mass gatherings are limited to ten people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Phase II requires individuals to wear a face covering in public areas and situations where social distancing is not possible. The Governor has also prohibited alcohol sales for onsite consumption after 11pm.
Many hoped the Governor would begin to ease some restrictions now that North Carolina’s COVID-19 numbers are stabilizing. However, Governor Cooper contends it is too early to relax restrictions, especially with many students returning to school.
State and local law enforcement officers are required to enforce the Governor’s order and Phase II restrictions, however, many Sheriffs in predominately rural areas have chosen to not to enforce the order. This has led to many prohibited businesses in these areas opening illegally. Violation is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.
For a comprehensive list of what businesses and activities are allowed, please refer to the following NC Department of Health and Human Services guidance.