On a week that brought news of a promising vaccine and a new antibody treatment for COVID-19, Governor Roy Cooper announced the state would take additional steps to slow the spread of the virus by limiting the number of people who can gather indoors.
“The science shows that the transmission of this virus is much greater indoors. And the more people who are gathered, the more easily this virus can spread,” Cooper said on Tuesday.
The governor’s new executive order will go into effect this Friday (Nov. 13) and will be in place through December 4th.
The order limiting indoor gatherings does not apply to schools, universities or religious services.
Health officials stress the recent COVID peaks the state has experienced can be traced back to smaller indoor gatherings, where people have let down their guard, avoided wearing a mask and disregarded social distancing.
“We are on shaky ground as we head into Thanksgiving,” explained NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. “The safest thing we can do for our loved ones is to limit travel, and to avoid getting together in person especially indoors.”
Cohen reiterated those who are planning on gathering for the upcoming holiday should themselves get a COVID test several days before seeing family.
“Even though this means changes to long-standing holiday traditions for many of us, take comfort that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said the governor.
Cooper said advances in vaccines and with the public working together, the holidays will look much different a year from now.
On Tuesday, North Carolina recorded 2,582 new cases of the coronavirus with 1,230 people hospitalized, a new high for the state.
The governor also announced Tuesday that full-service restaurants are now eligible for assistance through the Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief Program (MURR) administered by the NC Department of Commerce.
Eligible businesses can apply for up to 4 months of rent or mortgage interest capped at $20,000.