Gov. Cooper announces shift to COVID-19 phase two and half


Lauren Wessell

Coronavirus update: Gov Cooper announces shift to COVID-19 phase two and half reopening.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

As N.C. maintains its number of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and New Hanover County sees an upward trend of positive cases (since June), Governor Roy Cooper announced a shift from COVID-19 “Safer at Home” Phase Two into “Safer at Home” Phase Two and a Half. 

This phase will begin Sept. 4 at 5 PM and be in effect until further notice as the state continues to assess options for further phased opening orders. 

This new phase allows for the reopening of playgrounds, museums and aquariums to 50% capacity and gyms and indoor fitness centers at 30% capacity.

Shifts being made in this phase include requiring masks for all children ages five and up, indoor gathers are limited to 25 people and outdoor gathers are limited to 50 people. 

Meanwhile, under this new phase, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment parks and amusement parks still remain closed. In addition, the 11 PM alcohol curfew will remain in effect until Oct. 2. 

Those at a higher risk are still encouraged to stay at home during this phase. 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen also issued a Secretarial Order alongside Gov Coopers Phase Two and Half Executive Order. Unde this order nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities will be allowed outdoor visitation, given they several requirements detailed in the order. 

“Safer at Home Phase 2.5 continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing some restrictions,” said Governor Cooper in a press release. “We can do this safely only if we keep doing what we know works — wearing masks and social distancing. In fact, a new phase is exactly when we need to take this virus even more seriously.”