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North Carolina moves to Phase 2.5

Some businesses allowed to re-open this Friday

POLK COUNTY—North Carolina Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that the state will move to Phase 2.5 of re-opening this week.

The Safer at Home Phase 2.5 will mean that beginning this Friday at 5 p.m.

The Phase 2.5 restrictions will mean that mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. The current restrictions were 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The new restrictions also will mean that playgrounds can open; museums and aquariums can open at 50 percent capacity and gyms and indoor exercise facilities can open at 30 percent capacity.

Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks and dance halls will remain closed through the new restrictions and large venues will be subject to the mass gathering limits.

Cooper said Tuesday that mask mandates and other prevention methods remain in effect and are even more important than ever to contain the virus.

“Safer at Home Phase 2.5 continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing some restrictions,” Cooper said during a news conference Tuesday. “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.”

Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen some stability in numbers of COVID-19.

North Carolina’s trend for COVID-like illness continues to decline, including the number of hospitalizations from the virus declining over the past 2 weeks.

State officials also said North Carolina has testing capacity with lab turnaround times averaging 2 days. Fewer people have been getting tested, however, with state officials urging anyone with symptoms or who may have been exposed to get tested.

State officials also said North Carolina’s protective equipment supplies are stable.

Cohen also issued a secretarial order allowing for outdoor visitation at nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. Nursing homes must meet requirements, however, including not having a current outbreak, having a testing plan and updated written infection control or preparedness plan for COVID-19 and having adequate PPE. The secretarial order for nursing homes is effective Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect through Sept. 22.