Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in North Carolina, US, to ease COVID-19-related business and gathering restrictions on Sept. 4. Some restrictions remain.

Alert Begins 02 Sep 2020 02:51 PM UTC
Alert Expires 02 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): North Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least Oct. 2
  • Impact: Business disruptions

Authorities in North Carolina announced that the state will move to Phase 2.5 of its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) economic recovery plan on Sept. 4. The state will remain in Phase 2.5 through at least Oct. 2. Under the new guidelines, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase to 25 and 50 people respectively. Gyms and indoor recreation centers may open at 30-percent capacity; museums and aquariums may open at 50-percent capacity.

Nonessential businesses and services previously allowed to reopen may continue to operate. These include:


  • Dine-in services at restaurants and other food establishments


  • Personal care businesses, including hair salons and barber shops


  • Pools


  • Event and sports venues, and conference centers


  • Childcare centers and camps


  • Retail stores


Establishments that are open must adhere to certain mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), limitations on operating capacity, compliance with social-distancing standards, and enhanced sanitization procedures, among other things. All businesses must allow employees to work from home whenever possible. All residents 11 years of age and older must wear protective face coverings while at indoor public locations or while using private or public transport. Local authorities may impose additional restrictions within their jurisdictions if they believe it is necessary for public health.

Other businesses such as bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, and amusement parks must remain closed. Public schools in North Carolina may open for in-person lessons, if they follow certain health and safety guidelines; however, school districts can also opt to start the school year online.

Transport and business disruptions are likely to continue. Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

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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