Coronavirus in NC: Live updates for May 24, 2020: People enjoy eating out again
Here are the latest updates on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and across the globe.Posted — Updated
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters that experts on a government-commissioned panel approved the plan to end the state of emergency that has lasted for more than a month and a half.
A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said Sunday that Northam should have brought a face mask with him during his visit on Saturday to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, news outlets reported. “He was outside yesterday and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone,” Northam spokesman Alena Yarmosky said in a statement. “This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change — we are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it’s important to be prepared.”
On the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.
“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC's “This Week.”
In the Tampa area along Florida's Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.
In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported.
Kevin Hassett, a senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" that the unemployment rate -- which has already reached Great Depression-level figures -- for May could be "north of 20%" if "some technical things that kind of messed up" with the claims reporting are fixed.
As churches filled with returning members greeting each other after months apart, church leaders began implementing changes to help keep their congregations safe.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says in a statement Sunday evening that the ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before they sought to travel to the United States. McEnany cast it as a move by President Donald Trump “to protect our country.”
Adam Smith, the husband of ReOpen NC's co-founder, said reopening NC to protect businesses and constitutional rights are issues some should be willing to kill over.
"We want to pick up arms? Do we want to kill anybody? Of course not, nobody wants to take lives. We don’t want to kill anybody. But are we willing to kill people, are we willing to lay our lives down? Yes. We have to say yes," he said.
Social media has been buzzing about his statement; however, he said his words were taken out of context.
"It wasn’t like I was saying ‘let’s go out and start taking up arms now.' We have to have a mindset or willingness to if the cause arises or if we get to that point. Nowhere do I say we’re at that point now, by any means," he said.
His wife Ashley Smith, co-founder of ReOpen NC, said all protests have been peaceful and nonviolent.
A video on their Facebook shows their pastor with a sanitation station set up at the front of the sanctuary, with church bulletins.
Recent guidelines from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting the use of "shared items" at a worship service that can be passed from person to person.
The church will only have seating on the odd-numbered pews for its earlier service at 9 a.m. service and then have seating only available on the even-numbered pews for later service at 11 a.m. The pastor in the Facebook video said the church will be disinfecting between services.
But not all churches are ready to open doors to worshipers. Pastor Andrew Taylor-Troutman of Chapel in the Pine Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill said he sees it as a moral obligation to not open his doors.
"It is my hope that the word 'church' may evolve and come to mean not only a building, but also a people bound by loving, sacrificial relationships," Taylor-Toutman said. "Rather than a rush to go back to church, people of goodwill would be the church by their loving actions. The right way is our responsibility to one another."
Durham pastor from St. Joespeh AME Church Jonathan C. Augustine believes that worship, in its nature, is more likely to spread the coronavirus than something like shopping because it includes singing, "verbal affirmations of God's providence" and preaching.
As a representative of the black community and spiritual leader of the Alphi Phi Alpha Fraternity, he wrote in a letter:
"These racial and socioeconomic divisions have created false narratives that embolden certain conservative and majority white, evangelical faith groups to publicly support positions adversely affecting minority communities. Accordingly, considering the empirical data revealed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the disproportionately adverse effect the pandemic has had on the African American community."
"In the present emergency, an overwhelming body of recognized national and international scholarly councils have indicated that there is no religious obligation to attend due to the prevailing circumstances," the statement said.
The CDC guidance for houses of worship:
- Limit the use "shared objects," like hymnals and bibles that may be passed from person-to-person
- Suspend or decrease singing, chanting or reciting during services -- those practices can contribute to the spread of the virus
- Hold church services in a well-ventilated area or hold outdoor services
- Practice social distancing in houses of worship
- Limit the size of gatherings based on guidance from state and local authorities
- Face coverings, hand washing and sanitizers are encouraged
It's Memorial Day weekend and it's the first full day of North Carolina's Phase 2 reopening. Phase 2 is the second stage of the state's three-part plan to resume businesses and social activities during the pandemic.
- Restaurants, salons, barbers and swimming pools can open at 50% capacity
- Overnight day camps can open with safety rules
- Child care facilities can enroll all children
While the food may taste the same, the dining experience is different for customers. At restaurants, adjustments have to be made. Some restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery service. The state Department of Health and Human Services has already issued guidance to restaurants, including the following:
- Keep tables at least 6 feet apart, both indoor and outdoor
- Keep 6-foot gaps between counter seats
- Seat only 50 percent of maximum fire code occupancy
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