In the latest Executive Order in response to the public health crisis caused by the rapidly spreading coronavirus, NC Governor Roy Cooper announced in a press conference Monday afternoon he was extending K-12 public school closures through May 15 for in-person instruction.
The announcement came as the state was nearing 300 confirmed cases after more than 8,000 people had been tested for the virus.
“This is a rapidly evolving public health crisis,” Cooper said, adding he wasn’t willing to give up on students getting back into the classroom this school year, but that the May 15 date was determined under recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control.
School systems are being asked to develop a plan to educate students with remote learning.
More businesses ordered closed
The executive order Monday also restricts mass gatherings to 50 people— down from the previous order limiting it to 100. More impactful for small towns like Bryson City is the closure of all gyms, movie theaters, health clubs and other businesses where people could be in close contact such as hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and spas. All businesses were told to cease operations by 5 p.m. Wednesday until the order was lifted.
Cooper specified grocery outlets remain open and that supplies continue.
“Please, do not overbuy at the grocer stores,” he said.
He added many grocery outlets are looking to hire workers who were laid off, such as those who were employed in restaurants after dine-in service was ordered to cease in the state due to concerns over the virus spreading.
Health agencies will also be looking to hire and have and have more volunteers, he added.
Child care centers will also stay open, he said.