Above: The latest update from Governor Roy Cooper and the Coronavirus Task Force.
SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced new restrictions will go into effect Monday afternoon that require retailers to stop up their coronavirus-related response.
Businesses still open that are deemed essential will soon be required to ensure the number of individuals shopping inside at one time either: 1) does not exceed 20% of the building’s rated fire capacity or 2) limits gatherings to five people per every 1,000 square feet of space.
Six-foot distance markings must be placed in areas in the stores where people tend to gather, such as check-out areas or deli counters. The new order will also encourage, but not require, retailers to provide hand sanitzer to shoppers, to install shields at check-out counters, and routinely clean surfaces.
In addition to the new retail requirements, Cooper’s Executive Order 131 also includes new rules for nursing homes. Beginning Monday, April 13 at 5 p.m., nursing home facilities must routinely screen employees and residents for flu-like symptoms. Communal spaces inside facilities will be off-limits and employees must wear face masks if supplies are available. Though these restrictions apply only to nursing home facilities, other forms of adult care units are encouraged to follow suit.
The new nursing home restrictions come the day after the governor announced a deadly outbreak of the virus in an Orange County nursing home. At least 60 positive cases of the virus have been identified at PruittHealth-Carolina Point in Durham, with two deaths.
Thursday, the state has seen 65 deaths and has 3,651 total positive cases of the virus.
Lastly, the new order lifts certain laws related to unemployment claims in an attempt to expedite the state’s clogged system. As of Thursday, the state has received 497,000 unemployment claims since March 16. Before the coronavirus-related restrictions, the system was previously receiving 3,000 a week.
Cooper also noted the state plans to begin distributing several forms of federal aim.
First, the state will begin distributing the additional $600 per week provided by the federal government to those receiving state unemployment by the end of next week, with the first set of planned payments on Friday, April 17.
Next, it will distribute the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). “This program provides unemployment compensation for individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and self-employed workers, and those who have exhausted any extensions to unemployment insurance,” according to the North Carolina Division of Employment Security, which plans to begin accepting these claims on Saturday, April 25.
Below: Cooper’s latest executive order.
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