Gov. Roy Cooper mandates face masks in public statewide; N.C. to stay in Phase 2

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As North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday mandated face coverings statewide in public where social distancing isn’t possible.

“We’re adding this requirement because we don’t want to go backward,” he said.

North Carolina will also pause and continue Phase 2 restrictions for another three weeks. Under Phase 2, public playgrounds, bars and nightclubs, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades and skating rinks remain closed.

“Doctors and health care experts have warned that hospital capacity can be overwhelmed in the blink of an eye,” Cooper said. “And once we see that capacity is gone, it can be too late to reverse the tide.”

As of Wednesday, North Carolina have 1,721 new COVID-19 cases reported and 906 people in the hospital — the second highest day in both of those categories since the pandemic started. North Carolina has 1,271 people who have died.

“Our cautious approach is like a dimmer switch, rather than an on/off switch,” Cooper said. “Over the past weeks and months, even as we’ve slowly turned the dimmer switch up and eased restrictions, we’ve seen community spread of the virus increase in North Carolina.”

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut officials on Wednesday announced that travelers from several states, including North Carolina, must quarantine for 14 days on arrival to help prevent the continued spread of coronavirus.

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