Cooper anticipates to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by June 1

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Jake Markland, Associate News Editor

Gov. Roy Cooper announced most COVID-19 restrictions should be lifted by June 1 in a press conference Wednesday. 

If two-thirds of the adults in North Carolina are vaccinated, Cooper believes the state can lift social distancing requirements, capacity limits and mass gathering restrictions safely by the beginning of June and begin to put the pandemic in the past. 

“Our careful, reasoned approach has worked,” Cooper said. “North Carolina’s strong safety protocols and actions to slow the spread are why we’ve been able to avoid a surge in cases.”

The mask mandate will stay in place for now and is not part of this goal. 

Cooper emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, adding that North Carolina has an adequate supply for everyone.

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen said lifting the mask mandate would become more realistic after two-thirds of the adult population is vaccinated. 

North Carolina opened up vaccine eligibility to all adults on April 7, more than two weeks ahead of the rest of the country, which opened eligibility on April 19. 

As of April 21, almost half of North Carolina adults are at least partially vaccinated and more than one-third are fully vaccinated. 

The state has seen 952,529 cases of COVID-19 and 12,480 COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

Cooper plans to issue an executive order next week outlining May safety restrictions.