Gov. Roy Cooper is once again easing COVID-19 restrictions in North Carolina starting Friday, March 26 at 5 p.m., he announced at a Tuesday news briefing.
Cooper began easing restrictions in late February.
At Tuesday's briefing, he cited stable COVID-19 numbers, decreasing hospitalizations and promising vaccine distribution efforts as reasons the state is able to lift more restrictions.
Under the new executive order:
- Museums, aquariums, retail businesses and shops, salons and personal care shops will be able to increase capacity up to 100 percent indoors and outdoors with safety protocols in place.
- Restaurants, breweries, wineries, amusement parks, gyms and pools and other recreation establishments can increase capacity up to 75 percent indoors and up to 100 percent outdoors.
- Bars, conference centers and reception venues, sports arenas, and other venues for live performances can increase capacity up to 50 percent indoors and outdoors.
- The 11 p.m. curfew for on-site alcohol consumption will be lifted.
- Mass gathering limits, which covers all other gatherings not addressed in the order, will be increased to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
Masks and six feet of social distancing are still required.
As of last week, the state has administered over 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. New daily reported cases are trending downward.
"Spring has brought sunnier days and the continued hope and belief that we will move past this pandemic," Cooper said at the briefing. "Our students are in the classrooms, people are getting vaccinated and our COVID-19 numbers remain promising."
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.