MURPHY, NC – On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen announced a modified stay at home order that will go into effect Friday, December 11, and last until January 8, 2021. Cooper has the option to extend the order if necessary.
They cited the “rapid” increase in key COVID-19 trends in the state. From November 21 and December 4, 2020, “over three-fourths of North Carolina counties were experiencing substantial (orange)” or “critical (red)” COVID-19 community spread, according to the County Alert System.” The system was put into place to easily evaluate a county’s COVID-19 cases, percent positives, and hospital capacity.
As of December 9, Cherokee County was listed as critical with low impact to its hospital. Clay and Graham Counties experienced significant spread, but both are low on the County Alert System scale.
Executive Order 181 called for “urgent and immediate action is therefore necessary to protect the lives of North Carolinians and to avoid further strain on the state’s health care system capacity.”
Under the order restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, and more must close at 10 p.m. The sale of alcohol is prohibited from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Essential businesses that may remain open after 10 p.m., such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Restaurants can continue to serve take-out and deliver after 10 p.m., just can’t be open to the public.
Anyone who refuses to leave an establishment at 10 p.m. may be subject to criminal trespassing prosecution.
All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., unless an exception applies. Events outside of the home must end by 10:00 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel to the place they are staying that night. Gatherings are still limited to 10 indoor and 50 outdoor.
A face covering is required in all public indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of social distancing. Additionally, in public outdoor settings, face coverings are required if social distancing can’t be maintained from non-household members.
During the nighttime stay at home order, people can leave their homes to travel to and from work, pick up essentials, take care of family, friends, or pets, attend religious services, and/or cross state lines. The order doesn’t prohibit visiting friends or family members, but it does stress that multiple households gathering together has led to the spread of COVID-19. Also, the face coverings rules apply when visiting other households.