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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina will remain in Phase 3, and the indoor gathering limit will be reduced from 25 to 10 people.

Governor Roy Cooper made the announcement during a news conference on Tuesday.

Restaurants will also receive additional assistance.

“Starting Thursday, full service restaurants seeking help with rent payments or mortgage interest may apply to the North Carolina Department of Commerce for up to $20,000,” Cooper said.

The governor urged North Carolinians to stay safe during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

“This pandemic will not last forever,” Cooper said.

Dr. Mandy Cohen said North Carolina is on “shaky ground” as the holiday season approaches.

She urged North Carolinians to avoid traveling and to wear a mask around anyone who does not live with them.

Under Phase 3:

  • Restrictions for vulnerable populations will be lessened with encouragement to continue practicing social distancing
  • Rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and congregate care settings will continue.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will be reduced to 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended.

Timeline of NC coronavirus restrictions

NC entered first entered Phase 1 on Friday, May 8.

In phase 1:

  • Most businesses could reopen
  • Retail businesses reopened at 50% capacity with frequent cleaning and social distancing
  • Parks and trails were encouraged to reopen
  • Certain businesses (gyms, salons, bars, theaters, etc.) remain closed
  • Restaurants continued to be take out and delivery only
  • Gatherings were still limited to 10 people, but gatherings with friends outdoors were allowed
  • Employers were still encouraged to telework when possible
  • Childcare centers that followed strict cleaning requirements opened for working parents or those looking for work
  • Worship services of more than 10 people were allowed outdoors if socially distanced

North Carolina entered Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, May 22.

The state-wide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30. It was initially to be in effect for 30 days, but was extended until May 8, at which point the state entered Phase 1.

During a news conference on Aug. 5, Cooper said North Carolina will stay in Phase 2 for five weeks.

Under Phase 2:

  • Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Retail stores that are cleaning and social distancing are open at 50% capacity
  • Salons are open at 50% capacity
  • Working from home is encouraged
  • Bars and nightclubs are closed
  • Gyms are closed
  • Movie theaters are closed
  • Bowling alleys are closed
  • Indoor music venues and skating rinks are closed
  • Museums are closed
  • Arenas and stadiums are closed
  • Pools are open with restrictions
  • Long-term care visitation is not allowed

In North Carolina, about 1,230 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus as of 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The three highest numbers of new cases were recorded on Oct. 30, Thursday Nov. 5, and Friday Nov. 6 with the record of 2,908 set on Friday.

The cumulative number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina is at least 297,442, and 4,660 people have died. 283,895 are molecular positive cases, and 13,547 are antigen-positive cases.

There have been 4,416,365 coronavirus tests completed. NCDHHS reports that 7.5% of those tests have been positive.

5,412 hospital beds are currently available and staffed, and 15,416 are in use. Others are either unstaffed or unreported.

As of Monday, Nov. 9, there have been 261,719 people in North Carolina who have recovered (note: this number is updated every Monday afternoon).

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