North Carolina will begin a modified stay at home order at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, due to a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The order requires people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and will be in place until at least Jan. 8.
“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Our new modified stay at home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”
The order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. and for on-site alcohol sales to end at 9 p.m. Exempted are travel to and from work, to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.
In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%.
The governor was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20. More than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier, with 34 counties designated orange for substantial community spread. Orange County remains in the yellow designation for significant spread. Read the update to see where each county stands, how the system was designed, and recommended actions for individuals, businesses, community organizations and public officials in each zone.
“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” Cohen said.