Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m., some of the more confusing aspects of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order ended with the implementation of Phase 1 of the reopening process.
According to the statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 30, businesses that weren’t specifically closed, like bars, theaters and dining-in restaurants, could remain open as long as they followed the social distancing guidelines.
But the stay-at-home order also made it illegal for anyone to travel to these retail businesses because buying furniture, clothing, books and other such items were deemed non-essential. So in theory, a clothing store could be open under the stay-at-home order but anyone who traveled to the store to buy an article of clothing was violating the stay-at-home order and could be charged with a misdemeanor.
What Phase 1 of relaxing the stay-at-home order does is not allow those stores to open, which was already allowed, but allow customers to travel to those stores without violating the order. In other words, it gives those stores a reason to open for business.
Another confusing aspect of the stay-at-home order that has been resolved with Phase 1 is that it was legal for Walmart, Target, Lowe’s or any of the big box stores that sold groceries or hardware to sell anything in the store to a customer whether it was essential or not. Technically, people could only travel to the store to buy essential items, such as groceries or hardware, but once in the store they could buy what they wanted.
It is also worth noting that Phase 1 only recommends, it does not require that people wear face masks when in public. The recommendation actually has the same status as the recommendations that people stay six feet apart, carry hand sanitizer, wash their hands, clean high-touch surfaces and stay at home if sick.
Houses of worship can hold outdoor services, but indoors regardless of the size of the building gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people except for funerals, which are limited to 50 people.