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Cooper bans dine-in service at restaurants and bars, expands unemployment benefits

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a North Carolina Democratic Party event for Super Tuesday in Raleigh on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. "I believe the state government should look like the people that it serves,” he said.

Restaurants and bars in North Carolina will no longer be allowed to offer dine-in service, Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a press release on Tuesday.

This executive order, expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon, goes into effect at 5 p.m. Take out and delivery can continue, and the order also expands unemployment insurance to help workers.

 “We did not come to this decision easily, but North Carolina must keep fighting this pandemic with the right weapons," Cooper said at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon.

The governor recommended that people not over-purchase items at grocery stores, so people with limited incomes have access to supplies. 

“Please know that grocery stores will remain open," Cooper said. "I know that there’s a natural tendency to stockpile food, but I urge people not to go overboard."

Cooper said that, because he recognizes that people will lose jobs due to the executive order, he is also expanding unemployment benefits.

The order removes the one week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits, removes the requirements that people be searching for a new job, allows people with reduced hours due to COVID-19 to apply for benefits, allows people to apply by phone or online and ensures that employers are not held responsible for benefits paid.

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), said testing is in progress across the state.

"Over 1100 tests have been completed in the state, and thousands more samples are in the pipeline," Cohen said.

According to NCDHHS, there are currently 40 cases across 16 counties in North Carolina, as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

In response to the order, the Town of Chapel Hill is providing free curbside pickup for take-out orders. Both delivery employees and customers picking up orders will not have to pay for parking.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. To check out The Daily Tar Heel's other coverage, visit our coronavirus outbreak page.

@ampogarcic @MichaelJTaffe

@DTHCityState |

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Anna Pogarcic

Anna Pogarcic is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. She is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying journalism and history major. 

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