RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday the state will begin easing some COVID-19 restrictions beginning at 5 p.m. Friday as North Carolina moves into “phase 2.5” of reopening.
“Safer at Home Phase 2.5 continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing some restrictions,” Gov. Cooper said. “We can do this safely only if we keep doing what we know works — wearing masks and social distancing. In fact, a new phase is exactly when we need to take this virus even more seriously.”
Mask mandates and other prevention methods remain in effect, but the governor’s announcement paves the way for certain businesses and attractions to reopen. Phase 2.5 means the following for North Carolina:
- Mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
- Playgrounds may open.
- Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity.
- Gyms and indoor exercise facilities, such as yoga studios, martial arts, and rock climbing, as well as skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball, volleyball, etc., may open at 30% capacity.
- Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks and dance halls will remain closed.
- Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits.
In addition, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen issued a secretarial order allowing for outdoor visitation at nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. To participate, nursing homes must meet several requirements. The secretarial order is effective as of Friday at 5 p.m. and remains in effect through Tuesday, Sept. 22.