Gov. Cooper plans to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by Tuesday, June 1

A NORMAL SUMMER?: If North Carolina’s current COVID-19 metrics hold steady, Gov. Roy Cooper plans to lift mandatory social distancing, mass gathering and capacity limits by Tuesday, June 1. Photo courtesy of NCDPS

The light at the end of the very long and, at times, very dark pandemic tunnel is finally within sight. At an April 21 press conference, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that he plans to lift mandatory COVID-19 capacity, mass gathering and social distancing requirements by Tuesday, June 1, if current metrics and trends hold steady. 

The announcement comes as nearly half of North Carolina’s population ages 18 and older has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of health and human services. For now, the state’s mask mandate will remain in place, though that’s subject to change if state health officials can successfully vaccinate two-thirds of North Carolina’s population. 

If North Carolina can successfully reach that two-thirds vaccination benchmark, Cooper said, the statewide mask mandate may be lifted in most settings. Because children ages 16 and under are not yet eligible for vaccination, safety measures will likely remain in place for settings like schools and summer camps, Cohen added. 

“If we can get two-thirds of adults vaccinated, we can get back to the summer activities that we love, like backyard gatherings with family and friends, public fireworks, outdoor festivals and parades, all without wearing masks outside,” she said.

To help meet that goal, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is launching a “Bringing Summer Back: Get Out the Vaccine” campaign. The initiative will run for two weeks in May and two weeks in June, Cohen explained, during which organizations will rally to promote vaccination through volunteer days, scheduling appointments and distributing community resources. 

As of April 21, the state has administered over 6.5 million vaccines. Over 28% of the state population is fully vaccinated, according to NCDHHS data, including 71% of people age 65 and older. In Buncombe County, 34.5% of residents have received at least one dose. 

“Vaccines are the key to moving forward, to strengthening our economy and making sure our kids are on track for school now and in the fall,” Cooper said. “Each shot we give is a step closer to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror.”

The current executive order, which is set to expire on Friday, April 30, raised the indoor mass gathering limit from 25 to 50 people and the outdoor mass gathering limit from 50 to 100. Retail businesses can operate at 100% capacity; restaurants, breweries and gyms can operate at 75% capacity indoors and 100% capacity outdoors; and bars, clubs, lounges, sports arenas, auditoriums and live performance venues can operate at 50% capacity. 

An announcement regarding restrictions for the month of May is expected next week. 

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About Molly Horak
Molly is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and writer for Mountain Xpress. Her work has appeared in the Citizen-Times, News and Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow me @molly_horak

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6 thoughts on “Gov. Cooper plans to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by Tuesday, June 1

  1. George Costanza

    What an idiot. Making it contingent on people getting vaccines before getting back to normal. This guy is a joke. I hope the Republican state congress passes that no forced vaccine law. They’re North Carolina’s only hope.

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  2. Xiden lost, we all know it.

    Only a fool gets vaccinated for a fake virus that cannot be proven to actually even exist, as researchers at 7 universities found.
    Dr. Derek Knauss: “When my lab team and I subjected the 1500 supposedly positive Covid-19 samples to Koch’s postulates and put them under an SEM (electron microscope), we found NO Covid in all 1500 samples. We found that all 1500 samples were primarily Influenza A, and some Influenza B, but no cases of Covid. We did not use the bulls*** PCR test.’

    At 7 universities not once COVID detected
    ‘When we sent the rest of the samples to Stanford, Cornell, and a couple of the labs at the University of California, they came up with the same result: NO COVID. They found Influenza A and B. Then we all asked the CDC for viable samples of Covid. The CDC said they can’t give them, because they don’t have those samples.’

    ‘So we came to the hard conclusion through all our research and lab work that Covid-19 was imaginary and fictitious. The flu was only called ‘Covid,’ and most of the 225,000 deaths were from co-morbidities such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, pulmonary emphysema, etc.. They got the flu which further weakened their immune systems, and they died.’

    • Peter Robbins

      You left out the last line: “I believe China and the globalists orchestrated this COVID hoax (the flu disguised as a novel virus) to bring in global tyranny and a worldwide police totalitarian surveillance state, and this plot included massive election fraud to overthrow Trump.” Someone alert the editors at Nature, Science and the New England Journal of Medicine. A breakthrough article is on the way!

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    • Elusive Wit

      Reading an opinion from one who posts under the name, ” Xiden lost, we all know it”, causes me to consider that this person is not very concerned about the truth of the words he writes. Everything said in this post can be very easily be proven false. Yet this person and others who continue to write and spread false information is just showing their ignorance to truth. How is this not embarrassing to themselves?
      It seems there is a group of people who are very gullible to believing lies. This group has accepted being lied to by trump and his minions for many years and cannot admit this to themselves, so they just blindly follow along without caring if it is true or not.
      I believe everyone deserves the benefit of doubt, but once someone lies to me and I know it, that person will lose my trust and I will have doubts about anything they say from that point forward.

  3. NFB

    So glad we have had Roy Cooper as governor during this pandemic instead of Pat McCroy or Dan Forest and their Flat Earth brigades!

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