Gov. Roy Cooper’s “dimmer switch” moved upwards ever so slightly.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Cooper announced that North Carolina would be moving from Stage 2 to Stage 2.5, marking the first change in the status of the state’s Safer At Home plan since May 22.
“We’re encouraged to see North Carolina holding steady on most, and decreasing on some, of our key data metrics,” Cooper said. “Because of our stable numbers, today, we’re ready to take a careful step forward."
With the slight phase change, which is set to take effect starting at 5 p.m. on Friday more businesses will be able to reopen at a limited capacity. These businesses include indoor exercise facilities, museums and aquariums, and outdoor playgrounds.
Indoor exercise facilities, which include gyms, bowling alleys, yoga and dance studios, martial arts and boxing clubs and many more, will be able to open at a 30 percent capacity. Museums and aquariums will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity.
However, movie theaters, bars, nightclubs and other indoor entertainment venues will remain closed.
The state will also ease restrictions on mass gatherings, raising the limit from 10 to 25 for indoor gatherings and from 25 to 50 for outdoor gatherings.
Outdoor playgrounds will reopen with no restrictions but masks will be required in public for anyone age 5 and older.
All of this comes just 10 days before Phase 2 was set to expire next Friday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m.
The new Phase 2.5 order will remain in effect through Tuesday, Sept. 22.
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