Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina will move into a limited Phase 3 reopening, starting this Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. Phase 3 will include allowing bars and larger venues to reopen – but at a greatly reduced capacity, through Friday, October 23.
The shift comes as North Carolina’s coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers continue to stay mostly steady, but the Governor did say there are some concerning areas and that people should continue to wear masks, keep social distance, and wash hands to help keep the spread as low as possible.
“Today, we’re cautiously encouraged about where we are in this pandemic,” Cooper said while announcing North Carolina’s move into Phase 3. “The key indicators we watch in North Carolina remain mostly stable. But I have to tell you that we see warning signs that the disease could spike again, here and across the country.
According to the State, this is what is included in this order moving North Carolina into Phase 3:
- Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
- Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
- Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.
- The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
- The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.
“Our stability is fragile, and with cooler weather and flu season comes new challenges,” Cooper said. “While we are methodical and cautious about easing restrictions, we need to keep using proven measures: wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart and washing our hands often.”
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said that the data is showing signs that we should be concerned about on some trends moving back upward. She said more cases are starting to show up in the Northeast and Sandhills portions of the state.
“Until we have a vaccine or a reliable cure, precautions like the 3 W’s are with us for a while,” Cooper said. “Our children can go back to school and our economy can fully rebuild when we’re safe, and people have confidence that they can stay healthy.”
Cohen also issued some additional guidance on the potential for Halloween activities. That guidance is available here.