North Carolina aims to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by June 1
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that he plans to lift almost all mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1, in time for a relatively normal summer.
Restrictions limiting capacity at indoor restaurants, bars and concert venues are among those that will be lifted, as are limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Cooper does plan to keep in place North Carolina’s mask mandate.
Cooper said the goal is to get to two-thirds of people fully vaccinated and when that happens, the mask mandate could possibly be fully lifted.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said reaching the two-thirds goal of vaccinated adults would mean activities like Fourth of July fireworks and other outdoor events could take place.
“It’s up to you to get us to that two-thirds goal and beyond as quickly as possible, so we can live with this virus and begin to put this pandemic behind us,” she said.
The current existing order expires April 30. Cooper said he’ll issue a new order next week with safety restrictions for May.
The current order limits outdoor gatherings to 100 people and indoor gatherings to 50 people. Retail establishments can operate at full capacity under the order, while inside capacity for restaurants is limited to 75 percent. Bars, concert venues and sports arenas are limited to 50 percent capacity under the order.
As of Monday, 3.65 million North Carolinians have received the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, while 2.69 million people have received both doses, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Wednesday, almost half of adults (47 percent) have had at least one shot while more than a third (36 percent) are fully vaccinated, Cooper said. For people age 65 and older, almost 77 percent have had at least one shot and more than 71 percent are fully vaccinated.
In Stanly County, almost a quarter of residents (24 percent) in the county have been partially vaccinated while 17 percent are fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS data.
“Each shot in an arm is a step closer to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror,” Cooper said. “North Carolinians have shown up for each other throughout this entire pandemic, and we need to keep up that commitment by getting our vaccines.”
There were seven new cases reported in Stanly on Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total to 7,302 cases, along with seven new cases and eight people hospitalized. A total of 137 people have died.
Statewide, there have been roughly 12 million tests conducted, resulting in at least 952,529 cases. A total of at 1,168 people were reported hospitalized Tuesday, and 12,480 people have died.