Governor Cooper expected to announce reopening plan Thursday afternoon
Posted April 22, 2020 5:02 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to lay out a three-part plan Thursday that would allow data to determine when to lift the restrictions of his stay-at-home order, in place since March 30.
A source familiar with the governor's plans shared them Wednesday with WRAL News.
Cooper and his coronavirus advisors are planning for a phased return similar to what Pres. Donald J. Trump laid out last week.
They will be looking for downward trends in coronavirus deaths, use of intensive care unit beds, hospitalizations, overall COVID-19 cases and the percentage of cases related to testing. The source said deaths and ICU data will weigh the most in the calculation for how the state can reopen.
Phase 1 would allow for more freedom for people to leave their homes.
Phase 2 would likely be the reopening of certain businesses with strict social distancing requirements. Those where employees and clients come into close contact, like barbershops and salons, would probably have to wait longer.
The final phase would be mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events, and that could be well down the road, the source said.
At the current rate of cases, deaths and hospitalizations, the governor's executive order, scheduled to expire next week, is likely to be extended.
That also makes it unlikely that students will return to school this academic year. The governor has said he would have more to say about the rest of the school year by the end of the week.
The source said there are discussions going on at the county and state level to consider small groups for remedial learning.
Cooper wants a phased-in approach based on trends so the state does not open up and then have to close again.