Gov. Cooper signs bipartisan bill for nearly $1.6 billion in relief

Gianna Holiday, Associate News Editor

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law two bipartisan relief bills approved by the House and the Senate that specify how $1.6 billion in federal funds are distributed during a May 4 press conference.

“This emergency funding is just a first step. There is a lot more work ahead. We need it to repair the damage that has been done for this virus, and to look ahead at how we can prevent illnesses in the future,” Cooper said.

The governor said the relief is expected to assist with healthcare, educational programs, and loans for the “backbone” of the economy such as small businesses. The General Assembly will also share funds with schools, hospitals, local governments and COVID-19 researchers.

The legislature also waives interest on tax payments, driver’s license and registration deadlines that would have ordinarily been due April 15.

“Please know the success that we’ve had so far is due to the work of North Carolinians have been doing,” Cooper said.

North Carolina’s stay-at-home order is set to expire May 8

Cooper has released his plan to lift restrictions in three phases. He said COVID-19 trends in the upcoming few days will be a large determinant of how the three-phase plan will go underway. 

During these phases, Cooper encourages North Carolinians to stay home as much as they can, to sanitize and “keep their physical distance between themselves and others.”

The governor continues to put emphasis on “tracing, testing, and trends” for COVID-19 when evaluating how long each phase will be and what it will consist of.  He has provided a rough outline at https://governor.nc.gov/.

Cooper has said that Phase 1 will modify the stay-at-home order to allow “non-essential” travel for shopping and other open retail stores. However, gatherings will remain limited to 10 or less people.