North Carolina governor orders residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

North Carolina governor orders residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
© Stefani Reynolds

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Tuesday announced a new coronavirus stay-at-home order set to take effect Friday that creates a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

"We have to act now to save lives, preserve hospital capacity and protect our economy," Cooper said during an afternoon news conference, adding that "the stakes are higher" and that the recent COVID-19 surge in the state is "truly a matter of life and death."

The executive order states that restaurants, bars, personal care businesses and most retailers must be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and that alcohol sales for on-site consumption must end by 9 p.m.

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"It means just what it says: People are to stay at home between those hours," Cooper added in the news conference. 

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, also spoke at the press briefing, saying that residents should “avoid nonessential activities and avoid people you don't live with.” 

“I am very worried,” she added. “Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick before you wear a mask."

The new order comes as North Carolina surpassed 400,000 total confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with a single-day increase of 4,670 infections. 

Tuesday also marked the 12th straight day North Carolina hit a new high in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, with 2,373 people currently in the hospital due to COVID-19. 

On Saturday, when North Carolina recorded more than 6,000 new infections in a single day, Cohen released a statement calling the uptick in cases “very worrisome.” 

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“We are seeing our highest rates of tests that come back positive despite the fact we are doing a lot of testing,” she explained. “This indicates we have even more viral spread across our state right now.” 

“I am asking each North Carolinian to take personal responsibility for their actions and slowing the spread of this virus,” Cohen continued. “Always wear a mask when with people you don’t live with, keep your distance from other people and wash your hands often.” 

The order comes as other states across the country have reimposed lockdown orders or implemented new restrictions to limit activities in recent weeks amid increasing COVID-19 infection rates. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Tuesday announced that the state would revert to the first step of phase three of its reopening plan. 

“Pretty much everything,” including gyms, stores, movie theaters and libraries, will be operating at reduced capacity, Baker said at a press briefing Tuesday.