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Governor announces phase 2.5 of reopening starts Friday

Gov. Roy Cooper has announced the state on Friday will move into a phase 2.5 of reopening, which will increase gathering sizes and allow some new places to welcome customers and visitors.

The new phase starts Friday at 5 p.m.

Notable aspects of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Tuesday announcement include:

• Gatherings can now be 25 indoors and 50 outdoors.
• Playgrounds, museums and aquariums can open at 50% capacity.
• Gyms can open at 30% capacity. Indoor exercise facilities — including yoga studios, martial arts, rock climbing, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball and volleyball — can also reopen with the same limit.
• Capacity limits at restaurants and personal care businesses like salons stay same
• Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and amusement parks remain closed
• Alcohol sales at restaurants after 11 p.m. remain prohibited until Oct. 2.
• Large venues remain subject to mass gathering limits.

In addition, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen issued an order allowing for outdoor visitation at nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. To participate, nursing homes must meet several requirements, including not having a current outbreak, having a testing plan and updated written infection control or preparedness plan for COVID-19 as well as having adequate personal protective equipment.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Cooper and Cohen said the state had seen COVID-19 data stabilize and that they were encouraged but cautions.

“Stability is a victory,” Cooper said. “The forest isn’t as thick, but we’re not out of the woods.”

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