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North Carolina On Track To Lift Most COVID-19 Restrictions By June 1

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter
Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask during a coronavirus briefings.

Governor Roy Cooper wants to lift most capacity and gathering restrictions on June 1.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Cooper said COVID-19 trends in North Carolina are stable enough to plan for another step in the state's reopening as long as more people get vaccinated.

"We're finding these vaccinations to be safe and effective in keeping people from getting this virus and really keeping people from getting seriously ill and dying," he said. "We feel like we're in good shape. Until then, we've still got to make sure we're careful and responsible.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has remained relatively stable, at about 1,000 to 2,000 a day for more than a month.

But the percentage of tests coming back positive and the number of hospitalizations have gone up slightly in the last two weeks.

Cooper and state Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said their goal is to have two-thirds of North Carolinians at least partially vaccinated before they lift even more restrictions beyond June 1. Only then would they look to end the statewide mask mandate.

Officials also said the state has plenty of vaccine supply and appointments for all adults to get vaccinated. The state will likely still recommend masks for kids in group settings, like schools and summer camps, since they are not eligible for vaccines yet.

Cooper also announced a new campaign called "Bringing Summer Back, Get Out The Vaccine" to encourage more North Carolinians to take their shot.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
Elizabeth “Liz” Baier is WUNC’s Supervising Editor for Race, Class and Communities. She has two decades of experience than span print, audio, and digital reporting and editing.
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