North Carolina to lift curfew, increase social gathering limit

North Carolina to lift curfew, increase social gathering limit
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is set to lift the state’s mandatory curfew on Friday, as well as increase the limit on social gatherings amid stabilizing coronavirus rates.

Cooper announced a new executive order on Wednesday that will lift the mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

The order also increases the number of people who can gather indoors from 10 people to 25. The limit for outdoor gatherings will remain at 50 people.

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Some indoor businesses, including bars, movie theaters, night clubs and sports arenas, will be able to operate at 30 percent capacity up to 250 people. Larger indoor arenas of more than 5,000 people can operate at up to 15 percent capacity with no cap.  

Other businesses, like restaurants, museums and retailers, can operate at 50 percent capacity.

In addition, the cutoff for onsite alcohol sales will be moved from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The order will remain in effect until March 26 at 5 p.m.

“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Cooper said in a statement. “Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”

The changes come as the state sees a decreasing trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past 14 days.

However, Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, warned that cases still remain elevated, adding that the state needs to “keep our guard up” with new COVID-19 variants spreading.

North Carolina topped 11,000 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, according to a local NBC affiliate. It also reported 3,346 new infections and 1,530 new hospitalizations.