North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that starting Friday, March 26, he is relaxing some of the COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
When these restrictions were first announced almost a year ago, Cooper said that it was to “flatten the curve.” He said that the purpose was to prevent hospitals in the state from being overwhelmed by spikes in COVID-19 cases.
With less than 1,000 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the entire state of 10.5 million people, it doesn’t appear that the hospitals are in any danger of being overwhelmed in March 2021.
Cooper described it as “easing restrictions,” which is accurate since most restrictions are still in place but aren’t as strict as they were.
Museums, aquariums, retail businesses and personal care and grooming businesses can operate at 100 percent capacity as long as everyone wears a mask and social distancing is a minimum of six feet.
Restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, recreation centers, gyms, pools and amusement parks can operate at 100 percent capacity outdoors and 75 percent indoors. Again with masks and six foot social distancing required.
Bars, movie theaters, gaming facilities, meeting, reception and conference spaces, lounges and nightclubs, auditoriums, arenas and other live performance venues, sports arenas, fields (which includes professional, collegiate and amateur) can operate indoors and outdoors at 50 percent capacity, also subject to wearing a mask and six foot social distancing.
The late night restrictions on sales of alcohol for onsite consumption has been waived.
Mass gatherings limits are being increased from 25 to 50 indoors and from 50 to 100 outdoors by this executive order.
The news release on Executive Order 204 stated that over 4.1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in North Carolina and that nearly 32 percent of North Carolinians over 18 had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Schools in the state are reopening according to protocols in a law passed by the legislature and signed by Cooper after some compromises on both sides.