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Cooper Announces Eased Pandemic Restrictions In Latest Step Toward Full Reopening

Governor Roy Cooper wearing a mask and red striped tie in front of a podium.
Courtesy Gov. Roy Cooper Twitter

In a media briefing Tuesday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper announced a new executive order that eases COVID-related restrictions on businesses and gatherings. The changes will come into effect Friday at 5 p.m. and run through April 30.

Starting Friday, retail stores, salons and museums can return to full capacity. Restaurants, fitness centers and amusement parks can open at 75% capacity indoors and at 100% capacity outdoors.

Bars, movie theaters and sports arenas are considered riskier environments for the spread of coronavirus. They will be limited to half the normal capacity both indoors and out.

The last call for alcoholic sales will return to the normal time.

The state’s mask mandate remains in effect, and businesses and venues must continue to maintain mask-wearing and six-foot-distance protocols.

Cooper said the decision to continue toward reopening was based on North Carolina’s "success with vaccine distribution" along with the state’s dropping hospitalization rates and stable coronavirus case numbers.

Cooper said that as of Tuesday, nearly one-third of adult North Carolina residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and that 18.8% are fully vaccinated.

He added that the state would consider implementing some kind of incentive for vaccinations should supply exceed demand. State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said it is not the state's intent to mandate people get the vaccine.

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