by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
It is still unclear whether the governor will extend his stay-at-home order that is set to expire Friday, May 8. He has avoided stating a definitive position while North Carolina’s neighboring states have already begun rolling out their reopening plans. Carolina Journal’s Lindsay Marchello writes:
Cooper’s administration announced in late April a three-pronged approach to reopening the state.
Under Phase 1, most restrictions would remain in place, including restricting restaurants to takeout orders only. Parks could reopen and more shopping options would be available, but social gatherings would still be limited to no more than 10 people.
However, on Monday, Cooper did little to elaborate on how or when phase one would begin. Marchello writes:
Gov. Roy Cooper was noncommittal during a Monday, May 4 news conference on whether the state will begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions on May 8, or extend the order.
Cooper didn’t specify during the news conference which businesses would be allowed to operate. Grocery stores, big retailers, and pharmacies are open, but gyms, hair and nail salons, and other small businesses remain closed.
Cooper’s hesitation to begin reopening businesses is a stark contrast from neighboring states. Marchello explains:
While North Carolina considers lifting some restrictions this weekend, neighboring states are starting to reopen. South Carolina and Georgia have lifted restrictions on certain businesses and opened beaches and parks. Georgia has more than double the number of COVID-19 cases than North Carolina. South Carolina has fewer cases than both states…
North Carolina is poised to become one of the last states to begin reopening as the rest of the country slowly lifts restrictions on the economy…
More information on what Phase 1 would look like will be shared in the next couple of days, the governor said…
Cooper was optimistic the state could enter the first phase and lift some restrictions this weekend, but he cautioned against opening too much too soon.