Restaurants, salons open Friday as North Carolina moves into Phase Two

Emily Broyles, Reporter

North Carolina will move into “Safer At Home” Phase Two Friday at 5 p.m., Mandy Cohen and Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday in a press conference. The phase will run through at least June 26.

To move into “Safer at Home” Phase Two, Cooper is lifting the stay-at-home order that was extended through May 8.

“This next phase can help boost our economy. But we can only help our economy when people have confidence in their own safety, which is why it’s important to ease restrictions carefully and use data in deciding when to do it,” Cooper said.

Phase Two will allow restaurants, salons and swimming pools to open at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25. This order applies to conference rooms, sporting venues and groups of people at beaches or parks.

Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Camps, both day and overnight, can open. Child care facilities will also be able to enroll more children to provide a “critical service,” Cooper said. Teleworking, however, is still encouraged.

Bars, museums, playgrounds, gyms and indoor entertainment venues will remain closed.

According to metrics laid out by Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and Cooper, North Carolina’s ability to reopen is evaluated on the following:

  • Trajectory in COVID-like illness over 14 days
  • Trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days
  • Trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over 14 days
  • Trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days

All metrics are stable except for lab-confirmed cases, which are increasing, and the state now stands at 20,122 total cases. Cohen said because of this, the “modest next step forward” should be taken with caution. 

“Based on testing and trends, we are moving to Phase Two, but we need to move in a more cautious way,” Cohen said.

Cohen and Cooper both emphasized the “3 Ws,” which are “even more important in this phase” Cooper said.

“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” Cohen said.

Cooper said he hopes this phase will not only boost the economy, but potentially move the state into Phase Three safely.

“This virus is still a serious threat. But North Carolinians have made changes and sacrifices in their daily lives and that has helped to flatten the curve here,” Cooper said.