Governor Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order for the state of North Carolina this afternoon.
This order comes after several counties, like Dare, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg and others issued stay-at-home orders to their residents.
“It is what we have to do to save lives. It has the force of law,” Cooper said at a press conference.
Cooper said North Carolina now has widespread transmission, meaning people are spreading the virus without knowing it
“The best, scientifically proven tool we have to slow the spread is keeping the distance and staying at home,” Cooper said.
The order will go into place Monday at 5 p.m., but Cooper encourages people to start now
The directs North Carolina residents to stay at home unless they need to leave for essentials such as job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help others. It also bans gatherings over 10 people.
“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Cooper said. “Although we are physically apart, we must take this step together in spirit.”
Cooper said that even if people don’t think they have to worry about getting the disease, “consider our nurses, doctors, custodial staff & other hospital workers who will be stretched beyond their capacity if we are unable to slow the spread of this disease.”
“Thank you for heeding these orders, and for your patience,” Cooper said. “And special thanks to our health care workers and their dedication to our state. We are all grateful for you, we’re all praying for you.”
Moss Brennan contributed to this story. This is a developing story.