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Cooper: Schools To Remain Closed To May 15, Gatherings Of 50 Or More Banned, Businesses To Close


Last updated 3/24/2020 at 8:51am

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Today, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered tighter limits on gatherings and extended school closures statewide to May 15, 2020. The order also closed some businesses that require close social interaction and limited visitors to long-term care centers.

The Executive Order’s effective date will be Wednesday, March 25.

“Each and every choice we are making is intended to flatten the curve and provide our health care system the ability to treat the sickest patients in the coming months. This is what we need to do to slow the spread of this illness and protect the health and safety of North Carolinians,” Governor Cooper said.

Also Monday, the Governor’s request for a major disaster declaration for North Carolina was received by FEMA. This specifically requested Individual Assistance, Crisis Counseling Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance and more.


Today’s announcement prioritized social distancing by lowering the threshold on large gatherings to ban crowds of more than 50 people. To stay consistent with this number, it will require certain businesses to close, including:

Bingo Parlors, including Bingo sites operated by charitable organizations

Bowling Alleys

Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)

Health Clubs

Indoor Pools

Live Performance Venues

Movie Theaters

Skating Rinks


Sweepstakes Lounges

Video game arcades

Barber Shops

Beauty Salons (including waxing and hair removal centers)

Hair Salons

Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers

Massage Parlors

Tattoo Parlors

Grocery stores and restaurants providing takeout and delivery will remain open. Additionally, Governor Cooper reminded North Carolinians to show restraint in buying groceries and supplies.

“I know today’s orders cause hardship for a lot of people. I do not treat these decisions lightly,” added Governor Cooper. “We have made them in the interest of health and safety.”


The May 15 school closure date is based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the situation in North Carolina evolves, more may be needed. Governor Cooper has asked the State Board to collaborate with the Department of Public Instruction and legislators to:

develop a plan to ensure access to a quality education for students through the remainder of the school year.

provide students with remote learning while school buildings are closed.

ensure that all school employees – including janitros, bus drivers, teaching assistants and cafeteria workers -- will work in safe environments and be paid.


Also Monday, Cooper highlighted the need for medical and health care workers and urged qualified, available professionals to volunteer by signing up at Already more than 300 people have volunteered.

Specifically, the Governor highlighted the need for doctors and nurses, pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care, and facility maintenance and administrative support workers.

Critical supplies and equipment like masks, gloves, and gowns are low. Governor Cooper is convening North Carolina’s top manufacturers to explore transitioning production lines to start making these critical supplies.


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