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North Carolina will move into Phase 3 starting Friday at 5 p.m.

North Carolina will move into Phase 3 starting Friday at 5 p.m.

  • Updated

RALEIGH — North Carolina will move into Phase 3 of reopening starting today, Oct. 2, at 5 p.m., Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a news conference Wednesday.

This carries with it a few changes to gatherings around the state, including:

• Movie theaters and conference centers can open at 30% capacity, or 100 seated guests, whichever is fewer.

• Bars can operate outdoors at 30% capacity, or 100 guests.

• Outdoor amusement parks can open at 30% occupancy.

• Masks will be required for anyone over the age of 5.

• Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 can operate at 7% occupancy.

• Limits on mass gatherings remain at 25 indoors and 50 outdoors.

• The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption remains in restaurants and outdoor bars.

“I believe that North Carolina can do this safely,” Cooper said. “But so I am clear, every gathering carries the risk of spreading this disease. Being safe means being smart and making sure others around you are doing the same.”

As of Wednesday, North Carolina has seen 210,632 cases of COVID-19, with 1,495 new cases reported since Tuesday. There are 956 people hospitalized, and 3,532 people have died.

Also today, elementary schools will be able to reopen in Plan A, which means there will be no restrictions on the number of people in classrooms.

However, social distancing and masks still will be required.

Cabarrus County Schools voted 4-3 last week to move children in kindergarten through third grade into Plan A starting Oct. 19. Kannapolis City Schools voted unanimously to bring all elementary students back starting Nov. 2.

Phase 3 will be effective through Friday, Oct. 23.

“If you're still at high-risk, you're still safer at home,” the governor said. “If you're going out, do what works — wear a mask, keep social distancing, wash your hands often and don’t patronize or go to places where people aren’t doing that.

“Until we have a vaccine or a reliable cure, precautions like the three Ws are with us for a while. Our children can go back to school and our economy can fully rebuild when we're safe and people have confidence that they can stay healthy.”

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