Governor announces COVID-19 capacity restrictions will be eased Friday

Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

SALISBURY — Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced capacity limitations caused by COVID-19 will be eased Friday at 5 p.m

The eased restrictions are as follows:

• Some places — including museums, aquariums, retail businesses, shops, salons and personal care businesses — can open at 100% capacity indoors and outdoors.

• Others can open at 75% of capacity indoors and 100% outdoors, including restaurants, breweries and wineries, recreation businesses such as bowling alleys and skating rinks, fitness facilities such as gyms and yoga studios, pools and amusement parks.

• Another group — bars, night clubs, movie theaters, conference centers, reception venues, sports arenas and venues for live performances — can open at 50% capacity indoors and outdoors. This includes high school sports facilities.

The changes also remove restrictions on the late night sale and service of alcoholic beverages, meaning that local restaurants such as DJs and bars like the Fish Bowl can serve alcohol later. General gathering limits also will increase from 25 to 50 indoors and from 50 to 100 outdoors.

The mask mandate remains in place across North Carolina. Officials said businesses also must abide by social distancing rules for patrons.

In announcing the changes, Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said COVID-19 trends continue to head in the right direction across the state. Vaccines are being distributed quickly and fairly, too, Cooper and Cohen said.

“We are in a promising place. With North Carolina’s COVID-19 key metrics improving and vaccinations increasing, we can responsibly use our dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions guided by science and data,” Cohen said.

Locally, the number of Rowan County residents vaccinated with one dose of a vaccine increased by 680 on Tuesday, to a total of 20,551. The number of people fully vaccinated increased by 369, to a total of 14,036. Both numbers include people who have been vaccinated elsewhere and live in the boundaries of Rowan County.

State data continue to show Rowan County among the communities in the state with the lowest portion of its population receiving first doses of a vaccine. Other counties grouped into the same range for percent of population vaccinated — 12% to 15% — include Hoke, Cumberland, Harnett and Onslow. Statewide, 21% of people have been vaccinated.

Rowan County is doing slightly better compared to others in the state for percent of population fully vaccinated, but it still finds itself closer to the bottom than the top. The Rowan County Health Department and Novant Health have followed state guidance for who’s eligible to be vaccinated. That guidance currently includes anyone 65 or older, anyone with a health condition that increases chances for a severe case of COVID-19, health care workers and frontline essential workers.

State data show 17% of Rowan County women have been partially vaccinated (received at least one dose) and 11.7% have been fully vaccinated. The same numbers are 11.7% and 7.8% for men, respectively.

Those 75 and older who live in Rowan County are 43.7% fully vaccinated. Local residents 65 to 74 years old are 39.9% fully vaccinated.

The number of positives among local residents increased by just 17 on Tuesday. There have been 352 positives in the previous 14 days, which is better than the per capita numbers for Davie, Iredell and Stanly counties but worse than other neighboring communities.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Rowan County remained at 292 on Tuesday. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Rowan County’s region, which includes 18 counties known as the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, decreased to 205 in state data posted Tuesday. Of the 205, 28 were admitted in the previous 24 hours.

Read Cooper’s full executive order by clicking here. 

A frequently asked questions document about Cooper’s newest executive order is available by clicking here.