Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in North Carolina, US, to lift stay-at-home order, allow additional businesses to reopen, 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 21 May 2020 21:09 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): North Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 26
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order that replaces a stay at home requirement with a recommendation to limit time outside the home, starting May 22. The order also lifts restrictions on multiple businesses, as part of phase 2 of the state's economic recovery plan in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed indoors, and of up to 25 people outdoors.

Among the businesses and activities allowed to resume operations May 22 are the following:

  • Dine-in services at restaurants, limiting capacity at 50 percent.
  • Personal care businesses, including hair salons and barber shops, limiting capacity at 50 percent, with employees using face coverings.
  • Pools, limiting capacity at 50 percent.
  • Event and sports venues, and conference centers, limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Childcare centers and camps

Retail businesses may continue operating while allowing only 50 percent of their maximum capacity. In-person lessons in schools remain canceled through the end of the academic year. Businesses, such as bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, and bowling alleys, will remain closed.

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 it is necessary for public health.

Phase 2 is scheduled to last until June 26, when additional restrictions may be eased, but officials will evaluate the situation and make an announcement prior to that date.

Transport and business disruptions are likely to continue. 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.

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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