Cooper to announce Phase Two opening decision by midweek

Ruben Fields
May 21, 2020

The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments. Cooper said he had no plans to appeal the judge's ruling, the News and Observer reported.

Meanwhile, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, also a Democrat, said Monday he will issue draft guidance for reopening restaurants in the next day or two - roughly a week before Polis is likely to allow restaurants in the Centennial State to reopen May 25.

As of Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina had recorded 20,122 positive cases of COVID-19 and 702 deaths with 554 individuals hospitalized.

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2.

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Retail stores that were allowed to open in phase one at 50% capacity will continue at that level. Cleaning and social distancing standards are suggested and people are encouraged to wear masks.

The judge's order emerged from a case involving two Baptist churches filing a lawsuit against the governor last week arguing that Cooper's order violated their First Amendment rights to worship. Gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, with exceptions for funerals or outdoor religious services.

Exact details on Phase Two are lacking. Vulnerable populations, including the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, would be encouraged to remain at home.

Restrictions on nursing homes and other congregate care facilities would remain in place. The governor said he will announce sometime this week whether the state could enter the next phase. Generally, the state is set targeting a move into Phase 2 Friday night at 5 p.m., but Cooper said that the official decision to do so will come mid-week. "We know it's important to cushion the blow to the economy". We are going to continue to keep that at the top of the list. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL's Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of SC athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.

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