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Where you can and can’t go under North Carolina’s ‘stay at home’ order

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has announced a stay-at-home order for the state of North Carolina that will go into effect at 5 p.m. today until April 29, but “can be revised or extended”. The mandate is an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to spread through the state.

Travel is only permitted for “essential activities”, and those who use public transportation must maintain social distancing–keeping a distance of at least six feet from any other person.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, here is what will remain open:

“Restaurants that provide take-out, drive-thru or delivery; grocery stores; ABC stores and beer and wine stores; doctors and other healthcare providers; pharmacies; hardware stores; post offices; office supply stores; gas stations and convenience stores; car dealerships; veterinarians and pet supply stores; hotels, airlines, buses, taxis and rideshare services; places of worship; Child care providers (that are following the required NCDHHS procedures).

So what is essential? Here’s a breakdown from the News & Observer:

Grocery stores. Grocery sales are considered essential business, and all stores that sell them can remain open, though social-distancing space is urged while shopping. Cooper’s order allows for farmers’ markets and produce stands.

Medicine. Pharmacies can stay open and prescriptions can be picked up. Doctors’ office visits are all OK, though many have already advised “telemedicine” rather than office visits for non-emergencies.

Restaurants. Food establishments can remain open for take-out orders and delivery only. Food trucks can also operate, but the order prohibits any groups larger than 10 people and social distancing rules apply. To prevent gatherings of people waiting for food, some restaurants are using online ordering.

Transportation. Gas stations can operate along with any auto supply stores or mechanics. Bicycles are also considered critical transportation. Airlines, taxis and other ride services will still work. Car dealerships and those who sell cars are also considered essential, under the state’s order.

Recreation. Team and contact sports are prohibited. No basketball on public courts. Walking, hiking and running are encouraged, but be mindful of social spacing. Golf courses can operate as long as social distance is kept.

Business. Any business deemed essential can stay open, including any of those mentioned above. Some of those include electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones and computers; lawn and garden equipment retailers; book stores that sell educational materials; and pet and feed stores.

Also banks, building and construction, mail delivery, food and other retail delivery, laundry, hotels and funeral service.

Businesses are allowed to keep minimum staff on the premises as necessary for inventory or payroll, but most should stay at home.

Pets. Veterinarians are allowed but not groomers.

Professional services. Those considered critical, such as work by attorneys and accountants, are allowed but services provided by phone or computer are preferred. Real estate is limited to appraisals and titles.

ABC stores. Open as an exempt government office.

Gun stores. The state says gun stores implementing social distancing requirements may stay open. In Wake County, these are not deemed essential in Wake.

Entertainment. Movie theaters, auditoriums, arenas, amusement parks and playground equipment are already off-limits. Public gatherings with fewer than 10 people are permitted statewide as long as necessary space is left between people. Though libraries are closed, bookstores can remain open as long as they sell educational material.

The order also reduces the size of gatherings to 10 people. For frequently asked questions about the order, answers can be found here.

The best way to help medical personnel and to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. Remember to follow basic CDC recommendations to prevent illness, including hand-washing for 20 seconds and not touching eyes, mouth or nose.

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Alanna Joyner

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