Govenor Roy Cooper said North Carolina appears to be on track to enter phase one of reopening this weekend. The first phase of the three-part plan keeps the stay-at-home order in place, but lifts some restrictions.

“We are continuing to see progress on testing, tracing and trends. We’re hoping we can enter phase one this weekend,” Cooper said at a Monday press conference. 

Over the weekend, the number of positive coronavirus cases reached 11,848 with nearly 500 people hospitalized. So far, 430 people have died.

Although officials say North Carolina is succeeding in flattening the curve of the virus, many worry lifting the stay-at-home order too soon could result in a spike of cases. George lifted its stay-at-home order this weekend and reported 1,000 new cases, bringing its total to nearly 30,000 cases with more than 1,200 deaths. 

“Our death toll is rising slower than in many places but we mourn all the same for those who have passed,” Cooper said. 

A determination on whether we will start phase will still depends on the state analyzing trends and increasing testing and contact tracing. But as of Monday, Cooper said he was hopeful we’d get there by the weekend. 

Phase one of Cooper’s three-part reopening plan could begin as early as May 8. In that phase, the stay-at-home order remains in effect as do most of the mandated business closures, but parks will be allowed to reopen.

Cooper said he would be announcing more specifics on what phase one will look like in the upcoming days. 

Phase one will last at least two weeks. Phase two will end the stay-at-home order, allow bars and restaurants to open on at limited basis. After another four to six weeks, Phase three will remove caps on gatherings and reopen all businesses, however restrictions on nursing homes and congregate living facilities will remain. 

Even as reopening begins, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen said residents should continue to remain vigilant. The riskiest activities for spreading the virus involve standing or sitting close to other people for longer than ten minutes. Outdoor activities are generally less risky. If contact is unavoidable, Cohen said residents should wear face masks and wash their hands. 

Here’s what the reopening plan could look like: 

Phase 1 (possibly starting after May 8)

➡️ Stay-at-home order remains in place, but people are allowed to leave to shop.

➡️ Retailers will need to implement social distancing and cleaning protocols. 

➡️ Gatherings limited to no more than 10 people.

➡️ Parks reopen with gathering limits.

➡️ Masks and face coverings recommended in public.

➡️ Teleworking encouraged.

➡️ Restrictions on nursing homes and long-term care facilities remain in place.

Phase 2 (at least 2-3 weeks after phase 1) 

➡️ Stay-at-home order is lifted, but vulnerable populations are encouraged to continue staying home. 

➡️ Limited reopening of restaurants, bars, and other nonessential businesses with strict safety protocols and reduced capacity. 

➡️ Gatherings allowed at religious facilities and entertainment venues. 

➡️ Public playgrounds reopen.

➡️ More than 10 people are allowed to gather.

➡️ Restrictions on nursing homes and long-term care facilities remain in place.

Phase 3 (at least 4-6 weeks after phase 2) 

➡️ Vulnerable populations can leave home but should continue social distancing.

➡️ More people will be allowed inside, restaurants, bars, churches, and event venues.

➡️ Restrictions limiting the number of people who can gather will be lifted.

➡️ “Rigorous restrictions” on nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue. 

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at 

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One reply on “North Carolina On Track To Start First Phase of Reopening This Weekend”

  1. She has a PSA that states only sick people should wear masks. But also recommends all people should wear masks

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