RALEIGH— In another step to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered people in the state of North Carolina to stay at home for 30 days starting on Monday (March 30) and lasting until April 29.

Cooper’s Executive Order No. 121 takes effect at 5 p.m. Monday and reduces the size of gatherings to 10 people. The order provides for essential businesses to continue to operate while prioritizing social distancing measures. The order has the force of law and will be enforced in all 100 counties.

He said the CDC considers North Carolina to have widespread transmission, which means people who have tested positive cannot trace where they were exposed to the virus.

“Because no one is immune and there’s no vaccine, the best tool we have is keeping our physical distance and staying at home,” Cooper said in prepared remarks.

Both he and North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said this measure was enacted to slow the spread of the disease and so as not to overwhelm the state’s health care system.

“We do not have the luxury of time,” Cohen said.

Cooper said the stay-at-home order will be a hardship but that the state “will do everything in our power to cushion the blow.”

He said 200,000 unemployment claims have been filed and that the first checks will go out next week.

The governor noted that three North Carolinians have died due to COVID-19 and the state has 763 confirmed cases of the virus in 60 counties.

The order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others.

Unless noted in the order, previous closures and orders stand as written as do local government orders in cities and counties. Frequently Asked Questions about the Order can be found here.

If you do not think your business is included in the essential services list, and you think it should be, you may apply online at the NC Department of Revenue to be designated essential here. Until your exemption is reviewed, you may operate as long as your business can accommodate social distancing in your workplace.

The governor’s full order is available here.

For more information about health recommendations and who is designated at high risk for becoming seriously ill, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

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