CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina’s modified Stay at Home Order for three more weeks Wednesday.
The Stay at Home Order requires people to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Cooper made the announcement as COVID-19 vaccinations administrations began across the state.
“Our other strong safety measures remain in place: the statewide mask mandate, closure of indoor bars and limits on mass gatherings and retail establishment capacity.,” Cooper tweeted.
The modified “Stay at Home” order, Executive Order 181, began at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11. These restrictions were set to expire on Jan. 8 before Cooper extended the order.
“This modified stay at home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer” Cooper said. “It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the days -- wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from people we don’t live with and washing our hands a lot.”
Most businesses will be required to close by 10 p.m. Cooper said onsite alcohol consumption sales must end at 9 p.m.
NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen also issued a new Secretarial Directive Wednesday to caution in stark terms against leaving home for any reason other than work, school, exercise, health care needs or groceries. “Simply put, don’t go places indoors where people aren’t wearing masks,” Cooper tweeted.
Cooper mobilized the N.C. National Guard to help with vaccine distribution, calling getting the vaccine out quickly “the most urgent priority right now.”
Click here for county-by-county plans on COVID-19 distribution plans
Establishments that are subject to the modified “Stay at Home” order include amusement parks and amusement transportation; bars, lounges, indoor venues, and arenas; fitness and physical activity facilities, movie theaters, meeting spaces, and other entertainment facilities; museums and aquariums; parks; personal care businesses; restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries; and certain retail businesses.
Retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, health care supplies, and fuel may remain open between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Service at restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries may continue for take-out and delivery after 10 p.m. Customers may enter restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries to pick up take-out orders after 10 p.m.
The restrictions do not apply to work travel, grocery shopping, seeking medical attention, other essential services, caring for loved ones, traveling in/out of state, religious services and anyone homeless.
Movies, live entertainment performances, and entertainment events must cease or pause no later than 10 p.m.
There is an exception to the 10 p.m. cut-off time for professional and collegiate athletic events that are already scheduled during the effective period of this order.
Third-party delivery services, such as Instacart, UberEats and DoorDash may continue to operate during the Night-Time Closure Period. Employees of these businesses may report to and from work and perform work duties as required by their employer during the Stay at Home Period.
“With these additional actions, we hope to get our numbers down,” Cooper said. “Our top priority is, and must be, saving lives and keeping our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. This is truly a matter of life or death.”
What are the major changes under this Order?
Under this Order:
- Certain businesses and facilities are ordered to close to the public between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Night-Time Public Closure Period”). This includes restaurants (with exceptions for take-out and delivery), bars, entertainment venues, parks, museums and aquariums, certain retail establishments, and other businesses and facilities specified below and in the Order.
- All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home or the place they will remain for the night between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Stay at Home Period”), unless an exception applies.
- The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
- Events or convenings outside of the home must end by 10:00 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel home or to the place where they will stay for the night.
- The capacity limitations on certain businesses, indoor and outdoor gathering limits, and other public health measures implemented by previous executive orders are extended through January 8, 2021.
What remains the same under this Order?
Under this Order:
- The gathering limits remain at ten (10) individuals for indoor settings and fifty (50) individuals for outdoor settings.
- The limitations on certain businesses, sanitation standards, and other public health restrictions outlined in the Phase 3 Executive Order and NCDHHS Guidance remain in effect.
- A face covering is still required in all public indoor settings if there are nonhousehold members present, regardless of the individual’s ability to maintain social distance. Face coverings continue to be required in public outdoor settings if individuals are unable to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members.
- Retail business locations with more than 15,000 square feet of interior space must continue to have a worker at each entrance open to the public, who is responsible for enforcing the executive orders’ face covering and capacity limitations.
This order does not close a business completely as establishments may remain open during the Night-Time Public Closure Period for workers, and may otherwise conduct their business and operations, as long as no guests are admitted onto the premises.
Patrons who refuse to exit an establishment after being asking to leave may be subject to criminal trespass prosecution.
If a worker’s presence is required by his or her employer, that worker may remain on the premises and conduct their normal business operations during the Night-Time Public Closure Period, as long as no clients or customers are permitted onto the premises. Individuals may leave their home or place where they are staying to travel to or from work.
Workplace events and functions that are outside of normal business operations must cease between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Individuals are not required to show documentation that they fall within an exception to the Stay at Home Order.
Using or providing shared transportation services, such as taxicabs, ride share services, buses, and trains, is not prohibited during the Stay at Home Period.
Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this order.
“North Carolina trends are alarming,” Cooper said. “The virus is upon us with a rapid viciousness like we haven’t seen before.”
The governor also said more restrictions could be in order if COVID-19 trends don’t improve.
“We will do more if our trends do not improve,” Cooper said. “None of us want that.”