Virus Outbreak North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper answers a question during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

Restaurants, barbershops and hair salons will be able to open Friday evening but at half their capacity, according to an order from Gov. Roy Cooper.

But bars, indoor entertainment venues, gyms, and public playgrounds will stay closed during Phase 2 COVID-19 reopening.

The phase 2 order will be in place for five weeks, until June 26, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Health and Human Services, during a briefing Wednesday afternoon. She said that period of time is needed to monitor the virus to move into a Phase 3 reopening.

Cooper must take a cautious approach to make sure this works the right way, she said.

Mass gathering limits remain at 10 people indoors, with 25 people allowed outdoors.

In addition to restaurants, barbershops and hair salons, the order allows pools and child care centers to open, as well as tattoo shops and day and overnight camps with certain safety measures taken.

The phase also lifts restrictions on church services, attending weddings and funerals, but mass gathering restrictions remain in place for visitation or receptions after the services. People also are encourage to wear face coverings, social distance and wash hands.

Restrictions on visitors to long-term care facilities remain in place except for compassionate visitation.

Cooper said during a briefing Wednesday the Safer-At-Home Phase 2 order is more modest than was previously thought would happen because of key metrics the state has seen with the virus.

Cohen said trends for the virus have been stable but they remain cautious. While testing has increased across the state, surveillance data shows an increase in positive cases of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the state reported there have been 699 deaths and 20,122 positive cases. On Monday, the state reported that of those cases, 11,637 are presumed recovered.

Cooper said the virus is still a threat to the state but people have made changes in their lives and it has helped flatten the curve.

The state is still recommending teleworking for employees who can, according to the order.

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