Wake County’s stay-at-home order expires on Thursday, but residents are still required not to leave home except for work, exercise, healthcare, and essential supplies under the governor’s mandate. 

Wake County has been one hardest hit in the state during the coronavirus pandemic, reporting 796 confirmed cases of the virus and 16 deaths.

The stay-at-home order has been in effect since March 27, the day before Governor Roy Cooper announced a statewide mandate closing all non-essential businesses and asking residents not to leave their homes. 

Letting the county’s order lapse will slightly loosen restrictions by defaulting to the governor’s order. Wake’s mandate banned all gathering outside of immediate family members. Its expiration will now allow gatherings of up to 10 people per the governor’s executive order.

“Our community was affected first by the virus, making it vital that we act more swiftly,” Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Greg Ford said in a press statement. “But now that there is community spread and we are all fighting to slow the spread collectively, it’s appropriate to follow the state’s order, which provides some additional flexibility to our residents.”

Governor Cooper laid out a three-phase reopening for North Carolina last week, which could begin as early as May 9 if the state meets certain benchmarks in containing the spread of the virus. While officials say social distancing has been effective at flattening the curve, the number of confirmed cases of the virus topped 10,000 Wednesday.

Schools will continue remain closed for the rest of the academic year, under the governor’s mandate.

The order affects the county’s twelve towns, including Raleigh. The town of Apex will be putting out its own order, Wake County officials said.

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com.

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