‘Fragile’ improvement moves state to Phase Three

Phase Three of North Carolina's COVID-19 recovery includes reopening some venues at a reduced capacity.
Phase Three of North Carolina's COVID-19 recovery includes reopening some venues at a reduced capacity.

Governor, DHHS secretary brief state

North Carolina can move into Phase Three of reopening in the pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper announced today.

Beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, outdoor venues with 10,000-plus seats can operate at seven percent capacity, while occupancy of small outdoor venues can open at 30 percent capacity, or 100 guests. Movie theaters and conference centers can open at the same capacity.

Outdoor bars and outside amusement parks can open at 30 percent capacity.

Face coverings are still required for anyone over the age of five, Cooper said, and gathering limits will remain at 25 indoors and 50 outdoors. The 11 p.m. cutoff for on-premises alcohol sales at restaurants and bars is extended.

Sec. of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen said the “hard work” of the state’s people is paying off with stabilizing numbers and slight drops in hospitalizations. At the same time, she said, progress is “fragile.”

“Cases are beginning to rise elsewhere,” she said, “especially in the south and Midwest.We have to double down on safe practices to prevent going backwards.”

In addition to hammering home the “Three Ws” – washing hands, waiting six feet apart, and wearing a mask – Cohen said the state is also urging people to get a flu shot.

“The governor and I had ours last week,’ she said.

Cohen also said state residents should download the COVID 19 contact tracing app, which allows state officials to automatically notify people if their phones are detected in proximity to people who have tested positive.

Cooper said that people in at-risk groups or those who are uncomfortable being around crowds should continue to stay home to reduce the threat.

“If you’re at-risk, you’re still safer at home,” he said.

Phase Three will continue until Oct. 23, when the governor and his pandemic staff will reevaluate the state’s progress.

In Columbus County, 57 people have died from the virus since the pandemic began in March. Columbus County releases updated data every Monday and Thursday.

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About Jefferson Weaver 1386 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and the News Director for WTXY AM1540 & Kool 103.9FM Radio. He can be reached at (910) 632-4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@ColumbusCountyNews.com.