ACROSS NORTH CAROLINA — So far, so good, said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper as the state began the second phase of reopening Friday.
North Carolina entered Phase 2 of its “safer-at-home” reopening plan at 5 p.m. Friday. This phase is expected to be in effect until June 26.
Among other things, it allows breweries, taprooms, wineries and distilleries to open.
During a news conference Friday, Cooper described this phase as "a cautious step forward that eases certain restrictions and keeps important safety measures in place."
Updates from Gov. Cooper’s COVID-19 briefing: https://t.co/b7mIUbHd5H
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 22, 2020
Under Phase 2:
- Restaurants can open dine-in facilities at 50 percent capacity.
- Retail can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Parks and trails, day camps and overnight camps are open.
- Barbers, salons and personal care businesses can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Public pools can open at 50 percent capacity.
- Large venues, arena and stadiums can reopen with restrictions on the number of people permitted inside.
- Gatherings of no more than 25 people are permitted outdoors.
- Bars, theaters, music venues, bowling alleys, schools, gyms and playgrounds remain closed.
Courtesy Health and Human Services
"Restaurants are a major part of our economy and this virus has been tough on them," Cooper said.
To help the state's restaurants safely reopen, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been working with the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, North Carolina State Extension and Visit NC to develop an online curriculum for owners, managers and employees of restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
The initiative, called “Count on Me NC,” is a free online training guide “focused on advanced cleaning, disinfection, social distancing and hygiene practices to better protect the public and employees from exposure to COVID-19,” Cooper said.
So far, 3,500 people representing 1,800 businesses have completed the training "with more signing up every day," said the governor.
Those businesses completing the course will receive a sign to post in their business, a logo for their website and "Count on Me NC" name tags for their employees.
"The Count On Me campaign is really a testament to the collaboration going on all across our state as we fight COVID-19," he said. "As far as we know, it's the first of its kind in the country."
A list of businesses that have completed the course is available on the Count on Me NC website.
As of Saturday afternoon, North Carolina has completed 329,582 coronavirus tests with 22,725 people confirmed positive.
There are currently 589 people hospitalized, and 737 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus. For more information, check the NCDHHS dashboard.
See related story: 708 New COVID-19 Cases As NC Set To Enter Phase 2 Reopening