CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina will be implementing a modified stay-at-home order and a nighttime curfew beginning Friday, Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday as COVID-19 trends continue to rise statewide.
The new restrictions, which take effect at 5 p.m., create a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The restrictions continue through at least Jan. 8, 2021.
"It means just what it says: people are to stay at home between those hours," Cooper said.
Businesses, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more will be required to close at 10 p.m. Alcohol sales are required to stop at at 9 p.m. The sale of alcohol cannot resume until 7 a.m.
Some exclusions apply, such as in the construction and manufacturing industries.
"The modified Stay at Home Order is also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day - wearing a face mask when we are with people we don't live with, keeping a safe distance from others, and washing our hands," Cooper said.
Cooper warned additional actions and restrictions could follow if COVID-19 trends do not improve.
"You should avoid non-essential activities and avoid people you don't live with," North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said Tuesday. "I am very worried... Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick before you wear a mask."
More than 80% of North Carolina counties are in the orange or red on the state's coronavirus spread map. Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, was among those counties seeing substantial or critical community spread of the coronavirus.
Statewide, Cohen said trends are rising "sharply" and "significantly."
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
- North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
Tuesday's announcement made no changes to other restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate announced on Nov. 23 and the restriction of indoor gatherings to 10 people.
On Tuesday, North Carolina health officials reported 404,032 cases of COVID-19 with 2,373 hospitalizations. The positive rate for COVID-19 testing over the past two weeks is 9.3%.
The mandate extends masking requirements to patrons and employees at various types of locations such as restaurants and retail stores, calling for face coverings in all public indoor settings, even when social distancing is in place.
Cohen announced last week the state expects to receive its first shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine by next week. That shipment is expected to have about 84,000 doses. Cohen told CNN hospitals will decide who gets the vaccine first, but previously said front-line health care workers will be among the first wave of vaccinations.
On Monday, WCNC Charlotte learned that 11 medical providers will receive the first shipments, including Atrium Health.
“We’re excited to be getting some vaccine,” Dr. Lewis McCurdy, special director of infectious diseases at Atrium Health, said. “I don’t think we’ve been told how many doses we’ll be provided initially.”
While North Carolina awaits its first vaccines, multiple businesses in the Charlotte area have been forced to temporarily close due to the virus. Christopher Moxley, co-owner of the 704 Shop, said his company made the difficult decision to shut down during the busiest time of the year to protect employees.
"The worst thing that is, you know, one of our employees, you know, gets sick with COVID as a result of being in the store,” Moxley said. “And then there's the logistical concerns of having to deal with that, right?"
Multiple breweries, taprooms and bars are also closing temporarily after employees tested positive for COVID-19. Lost and Found Charlotte announced it will be closing due to the restrictions currently in place by the state. It's unclear when they will reopen to the public.