Friday, 27 March 2020 16:39

'Stay home. Save lives': Cooper issues statewide stay-at-home order starting next week

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ROCKINGHAM — Starting at 5 p.m. Monday, North Carolina will be under a shelter-in-place order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement during a press conference on Friday.

“This is a highly contagious virus that’s deadly for some,” he said. "We have to act now in the safest, smartest way to save lives.”

Cooper added that his order “has the force of law.”

The latest executive order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other.

Allows “essential services” to continue and directs those businesses to practice social distancing.

North Carolinans are allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons: health and safety; for necessary supplies and services; for outdoor activity; for certain types of work; to take care of others; to return to one’s residence; to receive goods and services; and for volunteering.

The order also allows for travel to and from a place of worship, but the mass gathering limit essentially puts a halt on religious services.

See the governor’s order below as an attachment on this story. (See the link above the author block at the bottom of this post.)

Violating the order is a Class II misdemeanor.

“We hope that people will voluntarily abide by this order,” Cooper said, adding that law enforcement officers are directed to encourage people to follow the rules.

If individuals violate the order, the governor said it is up to discretion of district attorneys and law enforcement to file charges.

Several counties and municipalities have already instituted such measures including in the Triangle, Triad and Mecklenburg County.

Cooper said sections of local orders that are more strict than the statewide declaration will take precedent.

“I know this order may lead to even more hardship and heartache,” Cooper said, adding that the first unemployment benefits from those affected by the numerous business closures will be going out next week. “We will not forget those who lost their livelihoods in this crisis.

The governor also said he is trying to get more state and federal help for those out of work.

North Carolina is considered by the CDC to have widespread transmission, meaning they don’t know how they got it, Cooper said.

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 763 cases of COVID-19 across the state, with 77 currently hospitalized. 

Those numbers were updated at 3:55, but do not include the third case reported for Moore County on Thursday.

The coronavirus has also been associated with four deaths in the Tar Heel State, including that of a Virginia resident.

“If we don’t slow the spread, many people could get sick at the same time and overwhelm the medical system,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. “Our best weapon is social distancing. What we do today can save lives in the days and months ahead.

“Stay home. Save lives.”

 

Last modified on Friday, 27 March 2020 16:43

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