Cooper to announce Phase Two opening decision by midweek

North Carolina religious services may move indoors after judge block's governor's order

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During a Monday news conference, Gov. Roy Cooper did not provide definitive answers about whether North Carolina would enter Phase Two of his reopening plan this weekend.

A federal judge overturned North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's orders Saturday that sought to cap religious services at no more than 10 people while businesses and other organizations in the state were left to accommodate up to 50.

"We will keep a close eye on what is happening in Georgia and SC to make determinations about us going into additional phases and what we might need to do to protect ourselves", Cooper said. Since we announced Phase 1, the state's overall key indicators remain stable.

Cornelius Today's graph of North Carolina's new COVID-19 cases shows a dramatic dip on May 19-31 new cases-which is most likely a discrepancy in data collecting rather than an actual decrease in cases.

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North Carolina is known for producing some of the best beer in the nation.

"While I am lifting the Stay At Home order, we are shifting to a Safer At Home recommendation", the governor continued.

The governor did not open fitness centers, health clubs, yoga, martial arts, dance studios, trampoline facilities, gyms, bars, nightclubs, playgrounds, bowling alleys, movie theaters, skating rinks, reception facilities, museums and amusement parks. The restaurants, salons and other soon-to-be-reopened businesses will be subject to social distancing and cleaning requirements.

Salons and barbershops will also be able to open at that 50% threshold with specific distancing and cleaning requirements.

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No more than 10 people gatherings indoors are allowed and no more than 25 people outdoors is a guideline in Phase Two.

"We will be announcing what the restrictions are a little bit later on this week", Cooper said. While the first phase could expire on Friday, Cooper said it will come down to the numbers and trends when deciding when to enter Phase II. Entertainment venues would be able to reopen but at a reduced capacity.

Restaurants are allowed to reopen their dine-in area at 50% capacity. "We believe we can move forward to easing restrictions". More than 255,000 tests have been completed.

"This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus", state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a news release. This is, in part, because the state has ramped up testing for the virus-adding 275 testing sites (link) and conducting about 7,500 screenings a day. Under the guidelines, groups will have to be sitting at least six feet apart and it's recommended that restaurant workers wear face masks.

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Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext.

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