FROM STAFF REPORTS

As the number of hospitalizations and the state’s positive test rate for COVID-19 decline, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that the state’s stay-at-home order will end at 5 p.m. on Friday.

The statewide curfew will be lifted, but the mandatory mask mandate will remain in effect, Cooper said.

Among the changes:

The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed 250 people per indoor room or indoor space.

30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)

♦ Bars
♦ Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
♦ Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
♦ Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
♦ Movie Theatres
♦ Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
♦ Sports Arenas and Fields*
♦ Venues*
Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit

♦ Restaurants
♦ Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
♦ Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
♦ Pools
♦ Museums and Aquariums
♦ Retailers
♦ Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
♦ Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

The governor emphasized that the state is still in the midst of a pandemic, and residents must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We have to keep doing the things we know work,” Cooper said, explaining that practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent hand washing are critical.

NCDHSS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen encouraged employers to continue having employees work remotely.

More than 11,000 residents of North Carolina who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died in the past year.

“We must keep up our guard,” Cooper said. “Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win.”

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