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Cooper extends school shutdown to May 15

Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday extended the statewide K-12 shutdown to May 15.


"I'm not ready to give up on this year's schools," he said, but said the shutdown needed to continue for health reasons. "We must maximize the time left in the year as much as possible" through distance learning.

A revised order also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and closed gyms, movie theaters, health clubs and other places where people gather and further ordered the closing of hair and nail salons, barber shops and massage therapy providers by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Grocery stores will remain open as well as restaurants serving takeout orders.

"Please do not overbuy at the grocery store," Cooper said, adding that supermarket executives had assured him supply lines will remain open.

The state is also recruiting more health care clinicians to volunteer during the COVID-19 crisis and it is pursuing all available channels to get supplies of masks, gowns, gloves, goggles and other protective gear for hospitals and medical offices, Cooper said.

Although the economic conditions can be dispiriting, "I've seen truly amazing examples of people caring for each other," he said. "Even though we are keeping our physical distance our connections to one another are more meaningful than ever."

As of Monday morning, North Carolina had 297 cases in 45 counties, and had tested 8,438 patients, with 10,000 more tests awaiting results. Eleven patients were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The CDC expanded its definition on at-risk populations, including people over 65, people with asthma or heart disease with complications and the severely obese, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said.

The state has served more than 1 million meals at pickup sites at schools, state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson said. Teachers across the state are using video chats. "Last week it became clear that this is going to be a multi-month event," he said. He said education officials are already working with the Legislature on measures that may be needed, including eliminating testing, calendar flexibility, maintaining paychecks for teachers and staff and ensuring that high school seniors can graduate this year.

"We understand how difficult this is and we are grateful for the work and the sacrifices that educators and families are all making in these unprecedented times," Johnson said.

Cooper's announcement prioritized social distancing by lowering the threshold on large gatherings to ban crowds of more than 50 people. To stay consistent with this number, the order requires certain businesses to close, including:

  • Bingo parlors, including Bingo sites operated by charitable organizations
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)
  • Health Clubs
  • Indoor Pools
  • Live Performance Venues
  • Movie Theaters
  • Skating Rinks
  • Spas
  • Sweepstakes Lounges
  • Video game arcades
  • Barber Shops
  • Beauty Salons (including waxing and hair removal centers)
  • Hair Salons
  • Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
  • Massage Parlors
  • Tattoo Parlors