On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper indicated a final decision and announcement would be made by mid-week about entering Phase Two and ending his stay-at-home order.
But Cooper said he didn't feel good enough about the trends to reopen public playgrounds, movie theaters, fitness centers and other venues that he suggested he could do in the second phase when it was first unveiled a month ago.
The double standard, District Court Judge James C. Dever ruled in the Eastern District of North Carolina, was an overt show of distrust among those gathering to worship and deemed the directive illegal, according to the News and Observer.
Swimming pools are allowed to reopen with 50% capacity. Restaurants can re-open for dine-in customers at mostly a 50% capacity, with distancing and cleaning requirements. At least 585 people are hospitalized. "Teleworking when possible is also highly recommended".
As of Monday, the state has reported 19,203 confirmed cases of the virus and 661 deaths.
Many residents and businesses are growing tired of the lockdowns, and some questions from journalists mirrored that sentiment.
"As with previous orders, these restrictions are a floor", Cooper stated. As we look at our numbers, we see them remain stable.
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How much lead time businesses will have to prepare for Phase Two isn't clear. The governor was non-committal on whether the state will open further by that date, saying he is hoping to do so depending on what "our indicators and trends will tell us". Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Police add more citations could be issued if the restaurant continues to allow in-person dining.
Phase Two of reopening begins at 5 pm tomorrow, amidst criticism of Gov. Roy Cooper for a conservative approach to the pandemic. The governor said viruses don't respect county lines, even though rural areas have relatively low rates of infection. He says they're waiting to reopen.
As North Carolina contemplates lifting some more restrictions, neighboring states are miles ahead in terms of reopening.
"The face covering is more about protecting other people from your germs in case you have the virus and just don't know it yet", Cooper said.
"Phase 2 is another careful step forward", Cooper stated. The number of positive coronavirus tests out of the total number of tests is declining and the number of people in the hospital is stable.
"This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus", state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a news release. More than 255,000 tests have been completed.