Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order to Relax Outdoor Mask Mandate and Ease Mass Gathering Limits
Starting today, Governor Roy Cooper's Executive Order relaxing outdoor mask requirements and easing mass gathering limits take effect. The Order is set to expire June 1. With stable trends and continued vaccination success, the state hopes to lift more restrictions then.
Under the new Executive Order, masks will no longer be required outdoors and gathering capacity limits will increase to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors.
"While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic," said Gov. Cooper. "Let's work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here."
Masks are still required indoors but are not mandated outdoors. NCDHHS still strongly recommends outdoor masking in crowded areas and higher-risk settings where social distancing is difficult.
With vaccine widely available across the state, all North Carolinians over 16 can receive their shot with little to no wait. To date, the state has administered over 7.1 million doses quickly and fairly. 49% of adults have received at least one dose, and 40% of adults are fully vaccinated.
Visit HERE (English) or HERE (Spanish) to learn more about the state's vaccine distribution.
Call 888-675-4567 for the state's COVID-19 vaccine hotline.
Gov. Cooper Outlines Timeline for Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions by June 1
Last week, Gov. Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Cohen outlined a timeline to lift pandemic restrictions. With stable trends and continued vaccination success, the state hopes to lift more COVID-19 restrictions by June 1.
"Each shot in an arm is a step closer to putting this pandemic in the rearview mirror," said Gov. Cooper. "North Carolinians have shown up for each other throughout this entire pandemic and we need to keep up that commitment by getting our vaccines."
The state wants at least two-thirds of adults to be partially vaccinated as soon as possible. When two-thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one dose and trends remain stable, public health experts believe there'll be enough protection for people to live more safely with this virus. The state anticipates easing some of the current restrictions by June 1.
Read the Press Release on the timeline for lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Gov. Cooper Delivers State of the State Address, Highlights State’s Resilience and Calls for Legislators to Work Together
On Monday, Gov. Cooper delivered his third State of the State address. His speech highlighted North Carolinians' resilience throughout the pandemic and urged legislators to work together on critical issues like Medicaid expansion, raising teacher pay, investing in workforce training and solidifying the state's infrastructure. He also urged investments in K-12 and higher education, and clean energy to fuel future economic development and job growth.
"I believe that North Carolina is strong, resilient and ready to face the challenges of the future," said Gov. Cooper. "I believe that we will rebuild from this pandemic to be even stronger than before. And I believe that we can roar into the future together, creating a shared recovery that ensures our best days lie ahead."
Throughout the speech, he recognized North Carolinians from across the state who have stepped up to help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apple Will Build Its New US Campus in North Carolina
On Monday, Gov. Cooper, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, Senator Dan Blue, Speaker Tim Moore and Rep. Robert Reives gathered to celebrate the new Apple campus announcement.
This will be Apple's first entirely new campus in the United States in over 20 years. They will invest over a billion dollars and create over 3,000 jobs with an average salary of $185,000 in Research Triangle Park.
"Innovation has long been North Carolina's calling card and Apple's decision to build this new campus in the Research Triangle showcases the importance of our state's favorable business climate, world-class universities, our tech-ready workforce, and the welcoming and diverse communities that make so many people want to call North Carolina home."
The campus is expected to generate over $1.5 billion a year in economic impact, and Apple plans to create a $100 million fund to support North Carolina schools and community initiatives across the state.
Read the Statement from Gov. Cooper and legislative leaders about Apple.