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North Carolina Governor eases restrictions

State’s general mask mandate remains in effect

POLK COUNTY—Businesses could see more activity beginning on Friday at 5 p.m. as North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper eased some COVID-19 restrictions this week. 

Cooper announced on Tuesday that he was easing statewide restrictions on venues like restaurants, bars, barbershops, museums, retail stores, theaters and more. 

Cooper’s executive order will increase capacity limits on gatherings both indoors and outdoors. 

The order includes sports teams allowed larger crowds outdoors, amusement parks able to fully open and restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries no longer have to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. 

The statewide mask mandate and social distancing requirements remain in effect. 

“These are significant changes but they can be done safely,” Cooper said on Tuesday. “We’ve said all along that the science and the data would be our guide in this dimmer switch approach, and they show we can do this. North Carolina has done the work to slow the spread of this virus and get people vaccinated and I’m grateful for the efforts of people across the state.” 

The executive order went into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. and will last until 5 p.m. April 30. 

The new order allows 100 percent capacity with mask requirements and 6 feet social distancing at aquariums; barbershops; museums; retail businesses; salons and other personal care businesses and tattoo parlors. 

Other businesses can open at 75 percent capacity indoors and 100 percent capacity outdoors with masks and 6 feet social distancing, including amusement parks; restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries; bowling alleys, skating rinks, rock-climbing walls; gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios and swimming pools. 

Businesses that can operate at 50 percent capacity indoors and outdoors with masks and social distancing include bars; meeting, reception and conference venues; lounges and nightclubs and sports arenas and fields. 

Movie theaters and gaming facilities can also operate at 50 percent capacity indoors and 75 percent capacity outdoors, all with mask and social distancing required. The indoor crowd limit will up to 50 people and the outdoor gathering limit is now 100 people. 

The restrictions were eased after North Carolina’s trends continue to show improvement and 31.7 percent of North Carolinians over age 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

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