Cooper lifts outdoor mask requirements

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

During a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper outlined the state’s latest coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and plans for the summer. The ease of current restrictions is set to start on April 30 at 5 p.m., and expire on June 1. 

Under executive order 209, masks will no longer be required outdoors when in public settings. However, masks are still recommended in crowded outdoor areas, like concerts.

Masks are also still required in public indoor spaces, regardless of whether people are vaccinated or not. This is in line with recent guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additionally, mass gathering limits for indoors and outdoors have been increased. People can gather up to 100 indoors and 200 outdoors, with social distancing in place. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”

Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (NCDHHS), Mandy Cohen, said they are continuing to look at the state’s trends and whether additional restrictions can be eased as more and more North Carolinians get vaccinated. 

“Fortunately, we now have enough vaccines for everyone. They are free and widely available across the state. In many places, you don’t need an appointment,” said Cohen. “For those who have questions, I encourage you to go to to learn about the benefits of the vaccines, potential temporary reactions you might experience, and answers to common questions.”

North Carolina has administered over 7 million doses. 48.7% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 39.2% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated. 

Cooper has also said once two-thirds of North Carolinians have been vaccinated with at least one dose, more restrictions could be eased starting June 1.