Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina’s modified stay-at-home order Wednesday for an additional month.
The order requires North Carolinians to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. except for essential needs or activity. It was set to expire Friday.
The state remains under a mask mandate, and residents must follow mass gathering and capacity limits. Cooper also extended his order that allows businesses to sell to-go or delivery mixed alcoholic drinks.
“Although we are often frustrated and weary, we are entering a time of hope,” Cooper said during a news briefing Wednesday. “The vaccine team and health providers are working night and day getting more vaccines to people and more are on the horizon. Our COVID numbers are stabilizing. We are charting a path forward.”
The modified stay-at-home order first took effect Dec. 11. It now will expire Feb. 28.
The stay-at-home requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and personal care businesses to close at 10 p.m. All outdoor gatherings must end by 10 p.m., and businesses cannot serve or sell alcohol between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Cooper’s cocktail delivery order, however, allows certain restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars and some distilleries to sell one mixed drink per person up to 2 a.m. It was set to expire Sunday and now will be in effect until March 31.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, percent of positive cases and COVID-19-related hospitalizations have been leveling off over the past 14 days in the state, but the numbers remain high. Cohen also issued a secretarial directive doubling down on COVID-19 safety precautions earlier this month. It remains in effect until the state of emergency is lifted.
“It’ll get better as North Carolina gets more vaccine and more providers giving it out,” Cooper said.
Officials said Wednesday that 859,695 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state.
Cooper said President Joe Biden’s administration has promised to increase vaccine shipments to states by 16% over the next three weeks.
“I want every single person to be immunized to prevent this cruel disease. We’ll make sure everyone has a spot to get their shot,” Cooper said.
Cooper also extended the state’s moratorium on evictions Wednesday and has asked the state Legislature to allocate federal aid to help small businesses and North Carolinas struggling because of the pandemic.
The governor’s federally funded Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program has paid nearly $130 million to landlords and utility companies for more than 34,000 low-income North Carolinians, Cooper’s office said.
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