Governor ends restrictions in North Carolina

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

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Cooper ends capacity limits, social distancing and mask requirements 

POLK COUNTY—North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that he will be ending all capacity limits, social distancing and mask mandates in most circumstances effective immediately. 

He approved a new executive order on Friday after the Centers for Disease Control announced issued new guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance in most situations. 

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Cooper previously said he had planned to lift restrictions by June 1 but said at that time he would not lift the indoor mask mandate until at least 2/3 of people in the stat had received at least one vaccine. 

As of this week, around 40 percent of people in North Carolina’s population or 51 percent of the adult population is vaccinated. 

Indoor mask mandates will remain in place in some situations, such as public transportation, childcare, schools, prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters, hospitals and doctors’ offices. 

Local governments and private businesses will also be able to continue to require masking. 

“Yes, you are likely to see a number of people who are unvaccinated stop wearing masks,” Cooper said. “A lot of what we have done has relied on the personal responsibility of people and businesses. Today, this order increases that personal responsibility.” 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that businesses who choose to not require masks post signs saying people who are not vaccinated wear masks. 

“This is not the end of this pandemic,” Cooper said. “We have a lot more people who need to get vaccinated before we get to the end of this.”