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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a news conference Wednesday that nearly all COVID-19 restrictions affecting businesses and social gatherings could be lifted by summer.
Here’s what we know about the potential changes.
Which restrictions could be lifted?
Cooper said he anticipates restrictions limiting capacity at indoor restaurants, bars, concert venues, museums, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses will be lifted.
Also lifted would be restrictions on indoor and outdoor social gatherings, such as weddings and funerals.
When does Cooper hope to lift restrictions?
He said that he anticipates being able to lift restrictions by June 1, 2021.
Why are the restrictions being lifted?
Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen credited increasing vaccinations as the reason for lifting restrictions. To date, 46.9% of North Carolina adults are at least partially vaccinated.
Will we still have to wear face masks in public?
Yes, Cooper said he plans to keep in effect North Carolina’s mask mandate. But if two-thirds of adults get vaccinated by June 1, Cooper said North Carolina may lift its mask mandate in outdoor spaces.
Will anything change before June 1?
Yes, the current phase of Cooper’s reopening plan remains in effect until April 30, 2021.
The current order limits most outdoor gatherings to 100 people and indoor gatherings to 50 people. Retail establishments can operate at full capacity under the order, while restaurants are limited to 75% capacity inside.
Bars, concert venues and sports arenas are limited to 50% capacity under the order.
The governor will issue an executive order next week outlining safety restrictions for the month of May.