NORTH CAROLINA — All of North Carolina is being ordered to “stay at home” in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday afternoon. The order is set to go into effect at 5 p.m. Monday.
“It is what we have to do to save lives,” Cooper said at a news conference. “It has the force of law.”
The order is mandatory, and valid for 30 days through April 29, but could be revised or extended.
The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina rose sharply overnight and is now present in at least 61 counties, according to state public health officials. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is widespread transmission of COVID-19 throughout the state.
As of shortly before noon Friday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported at least 763 cases and three deaths reported in North Carolina. The majority of COVID-19 cases — 47 percent — have affected patients between 25 and 49 years of age, the agency said.
But the statewide case count rose again sharply by early Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University, which reported at least 832 cases in North Carolina.
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Cooper had declared a state of emergency for the entire state March 10. Public schools throughout the state have been ordered closed through at least May 15. In addition, Cooper had ordered a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and all dine-in service at restaurants and bars.
What The Order Means
The statewide order means residents are directed to stay in their homes unless they need to leave for essential activities, such as for jobs, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help others, Cooper said.
The order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people, and its directs residents stay at least 6 feet from each other. Essential services will be allowed to remain open, he said.
“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Cooper said.
In a bid to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, municipalities around the state have already issued stay-at-home orders. One such order issued this week for all of Mecklenburg County, for example, is to be in place until April 16, and will be enforced by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
“In cases where a local order and the state order differ, the more restrictive requirement will apply,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management. “I want to stress that businesses that are allowed to remain open under the executive order will not need to have any extra credential or permit to continue operations.”
This order permits the following businesses to remain open, NC DHHS said:
Here is a copy of the Executive Order.