Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that North Carolina will extend its modified stay-at-home order through the end of February in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“That means the 10:00pm curfew is still in place, as are the mask mandate and mass-gathering limits, and capacity limits for business and retail,” explained Cooper.
North Carolina will also extend a moratorium on evictions while viral spread remains high.
“Health experts have shown us that keeping people in their homes is an important way to slow the spread of the virus,” said Governor Cooper. “And with at least one new contagious variant of COVID-19 in our state, we still have work to do. We cannot let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months.”
North Carolina has paid nearly $130 million through the HOPE program to landlords and utilities on behalf of 34,000 low-income residents who faced eviction or utility shut-offs during the pandemic.
To further help businesses, the governor is also continuing to allow the sale of “to-go” mixed beverages through March 31st.
Vaccine access improves, more resources needed
“We want to be in a posture of saying ‘Bring us more vaccine here in North Carolina. Send us more vaccine federal government.’ We are ready to ramp up,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen at Wednesday’s press conference.
Cohen said her office is also working with local health departments and providers to determine when it may be appropriate to move to the next group in line to get the shot.
“We want folks to be prioritizing 65 and up and healthcare workers, but at the same time we realize on the ground realities we need to be open and flexible,” said Dr. Cohen.
North Carolinians can find out when they will be eligible to get their vaccine through Find My Vaccine Group.
While much of the focus this week has been on the federal government providing more vaccine, Gov. Cooper said his administration is also working with the Republican-controlled legislature to provide more state funding to fight the pandemic.
“I don’t think anyone wants a budget stalemate,” Gov. Cooper said. “We owe it to the people of this state to do everything we can to find as much common ground as we can, and to get a budget we can agree on.”
Cooper said health care and educational needs will be top priorities during this session.
North Carolina recorded 5,586 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with 11.1% of tests returning as positive.