NC governor’s executive order unlocks unemployment benefits during ‘health crisis’

NC governor’s executive order unlocks unemployment benefits during ‘health crisis’
(Source: WECT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday that will provide benefits to those who lose, or have lost, their job during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Today I am taking down some of the barriers to unemployment benefits," Cooper said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

The governor’s order is also forcing restaurants and bars in the state to close for dine-in customers, effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Restaurants may continue takeout and delivery options, Cooper said, with acknowledgement that the order may cost people to lose their jobs.

Tuesday’s executive order will include expansion of the following unemployment benefits to help workers affected by COVID-19:

1. Remove the one-week waiting period to apply for benefits

2. Remove the requirement that a person must look for another job during this time

3. Allows employees, who lost their jobs or who have had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 issues, to apply for unemployment benefits

“Grocery stores will remain open," Cooper said. "I urge people not to go overboard. Leave some for others ...Especially for those who can’t afford to buy a lot all at once.”

Forty people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The latest count, updated just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, shows 40 coronavirus cases in North Carolina.

On Friday, figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed 15 cases across the state, meaning cases have more than doubled in just several days.

Business, including shops and fitness clubs, have closed their doors temporarily.

The state says four of the cases are from Mecklenburg County, which represents two new cases. Watauga County now has a confirmed case, as well. Cabarrus County still has one positive test.

State health officials say we don’t yet have community spread, and that those testing positive have either traveled or have been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

Monday, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris announced three additional cases in Mecklenburg County, bringing the total to 7 in the county. It’s not clear how many, if any, of those numbers were reflected in the state’s 33 positive cases.

By Tuesday, the North Carolina total had risen to 40 cases.

“We have 40 positive cases In 16 counties," state health officials said Tuesday.

Other counties with positive tests include: Wake County (14 cases), Forsyth (2), Johnston (2), Harnett (2), Chatham (1), Durham (1), Wayne (1), Craven (1), Onslow (1) and Brunswick (1).

According to Tryon Medical Partners, a patient of who they tested outside one of their facilities has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Tryon Medical Partners say they are opening their first remote testing location Tuesday.

There have been 33 positive tests in South Carolina.

An order for North Carolina remains in place to keep mass gatherings to 100 people or less.

The state now has tests to test 1,300 people, state officials said Monday.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.