Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in North Carolina, US, to lift business restrictions starting May 8, extend order requiring residents to stay home through May 22.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Hickory, North Carolina
  • Rocky Mount, North Carolina
  • Durham, North Carolina

This alert began 05 May 2020 23:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): North Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 22
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order requiring residents to continue to stay at home through at least May 22, and to lift multiple business restrictions starting May 8, as part of the state's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the order, which will be in effect from 1700 May 8, residents must stay home except to perform an activity allowed by state authorities, such as receiving medical attention, purchasing basic goods, caring for a person in need, or going to work. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities provided they comply with social distancing directives, and that any gathering does not include more than ten people.

Starting 1700 May 8, all businesses will be allowed to open, except restaurants and bars, which can only operate for delivery and pickup services, personal care and grooming businesses, and entertainment facilities. Retail businesses may operate allowing only 50 percent of its maximum capacity, and worship services are allowed only outdoors. Childcare centers can reopen for children of employees of businesses allowed to reopen. In-person lessons in schools remain canceled through the end of the academic year. Gatherings of more than ten people remain banned. Authorities recommend all residents to wear a face cover when in public.

All businesses must promote employees to work from home whenever possible, ensure proper distance between workers and between customers, enhance and promote sanitation, recommend face coverings, and encourage workers with symptoms to stay home. Local authorities may impose additional restrictions within their jurisdictions if they believe is needed for public health. Additional restrictions may be eased starting May 22, but officials will evaluate the situation and make an announcement prior to that date.

Transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose or extend restrictions further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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