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Gov. Cooper eases restrictions

North Carolina relaxes outdoor mask mandate and indoor/outdoor gathering limits

POLK COUNTY—Beginning on Friday, North Carolina residents can gather more indoors and outdoors. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced this week he is lifting some restrictions in place because of COVID-19. 

Cooper signed executive order 209, which took effect Friday, April 20 and will expire on June 1. State officials said they anticipate lifting more restrictions on June 1 as more people are getting vaccinated. 

Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. made the announcement on Wednesday. 

The new executive order means that masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still recommended in crowded areas and where social distancing is difficult. 

The new order also increases mass gathering capacity limits from 50 to 100 people indoors and from 100 to 200 people outdoors. 

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” Gov. Cooper said. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.” 

Cohen said the state has enough vaccines for everyone in the state. She reminded people that many places do not need an appointment and for anyone who has questions, they can go to YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov to learn about the benefits of a vaccination, potential temporary reactions and answers to common questions. 

So far, North Carolina has administered more than 7 million doses of vaccines. Of the population, 48.7 percent of people age 18 and above have been at least partially vaccinated and 39.2 percent have been fully vaccinated.