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Gov. Cooper lifts some restrictions

New order affects bars and outdoor venues, including sports

POLK COUNTY—As high school football starts this week in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper has eased some restrictions for several venues, including for sports. 

Cooper announced on Wednesday that he is easing some restrictions and lifting the state-wide curfew beginning on Friday. 

“That means no more curfew starting on Friday and more opportunities to gather, shop and attend events if done safely,” Cooper said Wednesday. 

The mandatory mask mandate is still in place. 

Cooper sign Executive Order 195 on Wednesday, which includes several business venues being able to stay or expand to 50 percent occupancy. 

New openings include gyms, museums, aquariums, barbers, pools, outdoor amusement parks, retail establishments, restaurants, breweries and wineries can open at 50 percent capacity. 

Serving alcohol in establishments must now end at 11 p.m.

The previous 100 person cap at sports fields has been changed to outdoors of 30 percent capacity, which will affect local high school football games. The change will also affect outdoor bars, outdoor amusement parks and any other outdoor businesses. 

The new executive order will also allow some indoor businesses to open at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people, including bars and taverns; indoor amusement parks; movie theaters and indoor sports arenas, according to the executive order. 

Cooper said there is reason for hope in North Carolina as fewer people are getting sick and fewer people are needing to go to the hospital. 

“All the metrics that we measure continue to stabilize,” he said Wednesday. 

Hospitalizations across the state have dropped to their lowest point since before Thanksgiving and the percent of tests returning positive continues to decline, Cooper said. 

There was a bill filed in the Senate last week to allow for outdoor high school sports to operate at 40 percent capacity.