Gov. Roy Cooper shared some updates to his plan to reopen the economy on Wednesday. In a story for the Winston-Salem Journal, Richard Craver reports:

Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that the potential Phase Three reopening of the state’s economy will be delayed more than three weeks, to at least July 17.

The state could have entered that phase Friday evening.

Instead, Cooper has chosen to continue the “safer-at-home” phase that began May 22.

Cooper also said he will make it mandatory to wear a mask when individuals are out in public with limited exceptions. That mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

The decision has received backlash from many conservatives in North Carolina. Craver writes:

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, reacted to Cooper’s three-week pause decision by attempting to contrast the response to recent mass gathering events.

“In Roy Cooper’s North Carolina, the governor can walk with a group of protesters with no mask on, but you can’t take your son or daughter to a playground,” Berger said in a statement. “Rioters can break windows and set fires with impunity, but you can’t exercise on an elliptical machine.”

Craver quoted JLF’s Mitch Kokai on the tradeoff between public health mandates and the economy:

Mitch Kokai, senior policy analyst with Libertarian think tank John Locke Foundation, said he remains uncertain that the public health benefits of the pause will outweigh the economic health damage.

“A number of business owners already have decided they never will be able to come back,” Kokai said.

“That list will continue to grow as owners contemplate whether they will be able to return to work after spending another three weeks with lights off and doors closed.”

Read the full story in the Winston-Salem Journal here. Read more about how the coronavirus shutdown is affecting local bars and restaurants in North Carolina here.