Gov. Cooper says North Carolina could enter Phase Two of COVID-19 reopening Friday

Gianna Holiday, Associate News Editor

North Carolina could enter Phase Two of easing coronavirus restrictions as soon as Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference Monday. 

In Phase Two, there will be a limited opening of restaurants, bars and other non-essential businesses at a reduced capacity. The number of people allowed at gatherings would be increased and public playgrounds will open with strict health and cleaning guidelines.

The governor stressed that COVID-19 remains a prominent threat despite flattening the curve.

From May 15 to 16, North Carolina saw a spike of over 800 new COVID-19 cases. However, more people are testing positive because more testing has become available. 

 “We know that life will look a little bit different for a while as we ease restrictions, Cooper said. “As we all adjust, let’s remember that patience and compassion will get us a lot further than hostility.”

Cooper has pushed for more testing and distribution of personal protective gear and services. 

The governor said in the last seven days, North Carolina tested, on average, 7,500 people per day. There are now approximately 275 testing sites listed on the health and human services website.

“This week, we are continuing a comprehensive push to distribute personal protective equipment to more than 3,800 licensed care facilities across the state including nursing homes, adult care homes and more,” Cooper said.

However, easing some social distancing restrictions in Phase One could be another contribution to this spike as Secretary of the NCDHHS Mandy Cohen said.

The state started easing stay-at-home restrictions May 8. Cooper said progress has been made on certain measures, such as cases, testing and percentage of tests that are positive.