FROM STAFF REPORTS

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that North Carolina’s indoor mass gathering limit will be lowered to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics.

Executive Order 176 will go into effect on Friday, November 13, and will be in place through Friday, December 4.

“This reduction in our indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers,” Cooper explained. “It also sends a serious signal to families, friends and neighbors across our state. Success in slowing the spread will help our businesses.”

As the weather gets colder, more people will be gathering indoors. Science has shown that indoor gatherings increase risk of transmission of COVID-19, and this Executive Order seeks to limit indoor gatherings that could rapidly and dangerously spread the virus.

The Order does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that have already been laid out. For more on this, read the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also underscored the need for people to wear a mask anytime they gather with people outside of their immediate household. As the holiday season approaches, NCDHHS released health guidance to help people celebrate as safely as possible without spreading the virus.

“Let’s keep our friends, family, and loved ones safe this holiday season. If you are going to travel or get together, plan ahead to reduce the risk to your family and friends,” said NCDHHS Secretary Cohen. “Remember, it’s not how well you know someone when it comes to wearing a mask. If they don’t live with you, get behind the mask.”

Since the onset of the pandemic in March, more than 297,000 people in North Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19, including 4,660 who have died from the disease.

Read the Executive Order HERE.

Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief Program Expands

Cooper also announced Tuesday that full-service restaurants are now eligible for assistance through the Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief Program (MURR) administered by the NC Department of Commerce.

These businesses may apply for up to 4 months of rent or mortgage interest capped at $20,000 per location for up to 2 locations. Businesses can learn more and apply at www.nccommerce.com/murr.

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