Governor Roy Cooper will issue a modified stay-at-home order on Friday, ordering residents not to leave their homes after 10:00 p.m. and cutting off alcohol sales for on-site consumption after 9:00 p.m.

The move comes after North Carolina experienced a record high of COVID-19 cases, with more than 12,000 new cases reported over the weekend, breaking previous records. 

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 400,000 cases of the virus in North Carolina. Nearly 2,400 people are currently hospitalized with the virus here, and more than 5,600 people have died in the state.

“The virus is upon us with a rapid viciousness like we haven’t seen before,” Cooper said during a Tuesday press conference. “It’s more important than ever to take this virus seriously.”

Starting Friday, the modified stay-at-home order will require residents to stay home overnight between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Businesses previously allowed to remain open until 11:00 p.m. will now close when the curfew sets in with alcohol sales cut off at 9:00 p.m.

The new mandate aims to curtail gatherings, including those in people’s homes at night. It will remain in effect through January 8.

This week, the first doses of a vaccine were given to patients overseas. Cooper said the first North Carolinians could receive vaccines starting next week, but those will be reserved for healthcare workers and vulnerable populations in congregate care settings. All residents, even those who have already contracted the virus, will be encouraged to get vaccinated. 

“I know that news of effective and safe vaccines have given us all hope, but vaccines aren’t here yet. We have to act now to save lives, safeguard our hospital capacity, and preserve our economy,” Cooper said.

If viral spread continues to increase, Cooper warned further restrictions may be reintroduced.

“We will do more if our trends do not improve; that means additional actions involving indoor restaurant dining, entertainment, or shopping,” Cooper said. “None of us wants that.”

This is a developing story. 

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