by Anne Blythe, North Carolina Health News
North Carolina bars and taverns, forced to close for nearly a year in the battle against COVID-19, could reopen this weekend to welcome people for a beer, a glass of wine or a shot of their choice at limited capacity.
Govt. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that it was lifting the curfew in effect since December 11 and that it had signed a new decree that allows larger crowds at sporting events, concert halls, amusement parks, restaurants, museums, aquariums, salons, tattoo parlors and retail. facilities.
The easing of restrictions comes as the daily number of COVID cases in North Carolina continues to decline. Hospitals are also treating fewer people with severe illness from the coronavirus, making 2020 seem like 2020 has stretched months into the new year.
After a wave of new cases and subsequent hospitalizations linked to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, Mandy cohen, secretary of the State Department of Health and Human Services, said the trends and actions she and her public health team have been monitoring throughout the pandemic are moving in the right direction.
The new number of daily cases has returned to the level it was in October. The number of hospitalizations – 1,530 Wednesday – returned to what it was in November, before the outbreaks.
The positivity rate now hovers between 6 and 7%, barely above the 5% target.
Fewer people are coming to the emergency room with symptoms of COVID-19.
Cooper noted “a significant and sustained improvement” in state parameters as he outlined what would be included in his latest executive order, which goes into effect on Friday.
âWhen it comes to loosening some restrictions, we depend on people to be responsible,â Cooper said.
The mandate of the mandatory mask continues.
âAs more and more people come together, it will be more important than ever to distance ourselves socially,â Cooper said. âThese proven security protocols are vital because this virus is still around and infects people every day. “
What’s in the order?
Here are some highlights of the order:
- Increase the number of people who can meet indoors to 25 from the previous limit of 10 people while maintaining the limit of 50 people outdoors;
- A 30% indoor occupancy limit (or a cap of 250 people) for bars, conference spaces, lounges, nightclubs, indoor amusement parks, cinemas, bingo halls and play facilities, and most indoor and outdoor sports venues;
- Modify the curfew on the sale of alcohol to allow consumption on site in restaurants and bars until 11 p.m.
- Allow indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats, such as many university and professional sports arenas, an exception to the 250-person cap, and a crowd size of up to 15% of their capacity if they follow metrics. additional security; and
- A 50 percent capacity limit in restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, gymnasiums, bowling alleys, swimming pools, climbing facilities, museums, aquariums, outdoor areas of amusement parks, salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors.