As the end of April approaches, North Carolinians are wondering if the state will shut down again. With the recent Executive Order 209 set to take effect on April 30 and expire on June 1, many are left wondering what this means for their safety and the safety of their communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask when in closed public settings. This includes K-12 schools, which must require the use of universal masks.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has also updated guidance that encourages private sector companies to check the vaccination status of their workers. The only way to end the pandemic is through vaccines. Rigorous clinical trials conducted among thousands of people 12 years of age and older have shown that vaccines are safe and effective. More than 160 million Americans have been vaccinated safely.
To find a vaccination center, visit MySpot, nc.gov.In addition to vaccines, masks are highly recommended for everyone at large, busy indoor events, such as sporting events and live performances. Face covering requirements are subject to state guidance and include certain health care facilities, such as care centers, prisons, and facilities that offer shelter to the homeless.Under the new Executive Order, masks will continue to be necessary indoors, but they are no longer mandatory outdoors. Masks continue to be highly recommended outdoors, in crowded areas and in higher-risk environments. Face coverings should be worn outdoors if a consistent physical distance of more than six feet cannot be maintained from people other than household members.The NCDHHS has also released a toolkit for businesses and organizations to remind people to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Residents with questions about the North Carolina plan can call 2-1-1 or review the Executive Order 147 FAQ document.In June, the City of Charlotte launched its Open for Business initiative to support small business owners through their recovery from COVID-19.By providing access to capital and other resources, the program aims to help businesses survive the recovery phase of the pandemic and help prepare businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic future.The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 p.m., and it requires people to stay home between 10 p.m., m. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated individuals can safely perform most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others, the state will eliminate its mandate to wear inner masks for most environments. In addition, the state will remove all limits on mass gatherings and social distancing requirements.There is growing evidence that cloth face coverings, when used consistently, can slow the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Face coverings are still required in public outdoor settings if people are unable to maintain a social distance of six feet away from non-household members.Large outdoor venues with capacity for more than 10,000 people can operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, such as stadiums or amphitheaters, can operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is smaller. Movie theaters and conference centers can open indoor spaces at 30% capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. Bars can operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is smaller. Amusement parks can open with 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.Retail business locations with more than 15,000 square feet of interior space must continue to have one worker at each entrance open to the public who is responsible for enforcing face covering and capacity limitations of executive orders.The limits for mass gatherings will be maintained at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
Beginning June 26th everyone must wear a face covering when in public places indoors or outdoors where it is not possible to maintain physical distance from others other than members of the same household or residence.By following safety protocols such as wearing masks in public settings and getting vaccinated when possible North Carolinians can help prevent another shutdown while protecting themselves and their communities from COVID-19.