A screenshot of Gov. Roy Cooper’s press conference Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

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Hyde County statistics updated, Sept.2 at 5:30 p.m.

While COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Hyde County, with three official cases on Ocracoke, North Carolina will take a modest step forward of battling the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday by easing a few more restrictions in Phase 2.5 beginning at 5 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper in a press conference Tuesday said that while some restrictions will ease a bit, mask mandates and other prevention methods remain in effect and are even more important to contain the virus.

In this continuing “dimmer switch” approach, Cooper announced that some heretofore closed businesses, such as gyms and museums, may open, with gyms and bowling allies at 30% capacity and museums at 50% capacity. Details are listed below.

Even though the pandemic metrics “show signs of stability,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, stressed that this pandemic is not yet over and the number of cases per day remains high.

Simple actions all can take to slow the spread of the virus, she said, are the Three Ws: Wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently and wait at least six feet apart from others.

“Letting up in those preventative actions, especially the three W’s could erase all that progress,” Cohen said.  “As we take modest steps forward today, it’s important to remember that moving forward doesn’t mean letting up on slowing the spread of the virus.

“Our progress is fragile, and we need to maintain focus on the three Ws, especially as we head into flu season.”

Cooper reiterated that every time people wear masks or social distance, they are slowing the spread and saving lives.

“You’re helping our statewide numbers so we can ease restrictions,” he said. “You’re protecting people known and unknown.”

While the numbers for large gatherings will increase a bit, Cooper said some places will remain closed, including bars nightclubs movie theaters indoor entertainment and amusement parks and large venues will still be subject to the mass gathering limits.

“We know that big gatherings are among the most dangerous settings for transmission of this deadly disease,” he said. “until we have a vaccine or reliable cure the precautions like the three W’s are with us for a while.”

The 11p.m. curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants has been extended to Oct. 2, he said. Local governments that have implemented orders that end alcohol sales before 11 p.m. or that apply to other entities remain in effect.

Answering a reporter’s question as to why Cooper is allowing more establishments to open slowly even though the case numbers still are high, Cooper said that though the numbers are stable he wants to help spur the economy.

“(This is a) careful step that we’re making that we hope we can continue to keep the decline moving downward,” he said.

Cohen said she will share a new public health campaign on Thursday.

She also noted that flu season will be here soon and urged all to get flu vaccinations.

“Flu can be serious, sometimes deadly,” she said. “And this year, with another dangerous respiratory virus spreading at the same time and our medical system already working overtime, it’s more important than ever to avoid getting sick.”

Phase 2.5 means the following for North Carolina:

  • Mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. 
  • Playgrounds may open. 
  • Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity. 
  • Gyms and indoor exercise facilities, such as yoga studios, martial arts, and rock climbing, as well as skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball, volleyball etc., may open at 30% capacity. 
  • Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks, dance halls will remain closed. 
  • Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits. 

In addition, Cohen issued a Secretarial Order allowing for outdoor visitation at nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities.

View the slides and graphs from Tuesday’s presentation. 

Read the Executive Order.

Read the Secretarial Order.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions