RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper closed restaurant dining rooms and waived requirements for unemployment benefits Tuesday amid the ongoing response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, all restaurant dining rooms and bars must close, the governor announced upon signing an executive order. Take-out services and grocery stores may continue to operate.

In anticipation of employee layoffs caused by the reduced or closed services, Governor Cooper said North Carolina is waiving requirements otherwise typical of applying for unemployment benefits.

Those changes to the unemployment process includes:

  1. The removal of the one-week waiting period typically required before someone who lost a job can apply for benefits.
  2. Those unemployed and seeking benefits will not be required to seek additional work during the outbreak.
  3. Employees who lose their job, or in certain cases have their orders reduced, because of the COVID-19 coronavirus are eligible to apply for benefits.
  4. Benefit applications will not need to interview in-person and instead can be interviewed as a part of the application process online or by phone.
  5. Businesses with workers seeking unemployment will not have losses counted against them.

"I know many employers will want to hire many of their employees back when this pandemic subsides," Governor Cooper said.

State officials anticipated additional benefits to be available from the federal government but many of those anticipated benefits have not yet been announced.

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The White House is proposing a roughly $850 bill emergency stimulus to address the economic impact of the new coronavirus, according to sources.

President Trump wants checks sent out to the public within two weeks. 

During a briefing Tuesday at the White House, federal officials did announce

Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin says tax payments will be deferred with no interest or penalties for 90 days.

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