As vaccinations continue and trends stabilize, N.C. officials will lift mandatory social distancing, capacity, and mass gathering restrictions by June 1
Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen on Wednesday laid out a timeline for lifting current pandemic restrictions.
With stable trends and continued vaccination success, the state expects to lift mandatory social distancing, capacity, and mass gathering restrictions by June 1. The governor plans to issue an executive order next week outlining safety restrictions for the month of May.
“Each shot in an arm is a step closer to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror,” Cooper explained. “North Carolinians have shown up for each other throughout this entire pandemic, and we need to keep up that commitment by getting our vaccines.”
North Carolina officials continue to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. This fast and fair approach to getting shots in arms is the best way to beat this pandemic, protect one another, boost the economy and make it possible for restrictions to be lifted.
To date, the state has administered over 6.5 million vaccines. Some 46.9 percent of adults are at least partially vaccinated, and 35.1 percent are fully vaccinated. More than 76 percent of people ages 65 and older have had at least one shot.
With vaccine now widely available across the state – often with no wait for an appointment, all North Carolinians age 16 and older can plan to take their shot. The state anticipates lifting the mask mandate and easing other public health recommendations once two-thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose and if trends remain stable.
“We are at an exciting moment. We now have enough vaccine for everyone,” Cohen said. “If you are 16 and older, it is your turn to join the more than 3.6 million North Carolinians who have already taken their first shot. It’s up to you to get us to the two-thirds goal as quickly as possible so we can live with this virus and begin to put this pandemic behind us.”
Cooper and Cohen urged North Carolinians to continue to get vaccinated and exercise good judgment even when restrictions are lifted. Businesses should continue to follow voluntary health recommendations and North Carolinians should continue to take safety measures in order to boost the economy, keep children in schools and protect each other.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Labor Statistics released statistics indicating that North Carolina is among the states with the fewest deaths and fewest job losses per capita.
State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.