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What Exactly Is Phase 2.5 And How Does It Compare To Phase 2?

Since May 22, North Carolina has been in “Safer at Home” Phase 2to enforce social distancing and to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper has said, “After a summer of hard work to slow the spread of COVID-19, North Carolina can take a modest step to ease some restrictions.” As of September 4, North Carolina is now in Phase 2.5, which means more businesses and gathering areas can reopen. However, what is now reopened and what restrictions have been eased? Here is what Phase 2.5 looks like.

 What’s Changed? 

  • Mass gathering limits are increased to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
  • Playgrounds are open.
  • Museums and aquariums are open at 50% capacity.
  • Fitness and competitive physical activity facilities such as gyms, indoor exercise facilities, rock climbing, etc. can open at 30% capacity.
  • Large venue settings must continue to follow the mass gather limit.

All employers in the state are encouraged to provide face coverings to their employees. Additionally, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen issued a Secretarial Order to allow outdoor visitation at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. To participate, nursing homes have to meet several requirements, which include but aren’t limited to not having a current outbreak, having a testing plan, an updated written Infection Control or Preparedness plan for COVID-19, and having adequate personal equipment.
 What Stayed the Same?

  • Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, amusement parks, dance halls and other entertainment facilities will remain closed. 
  • Restaurants will continue to have a capacity limit and other requirements for in-person dining.
  • Like hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, etc., personal care businesses will continue to have capacity limits with other requirements. 
  • Wedding receptions and other private events will continue to have mass gathering limits.
  • Face covers are still required. 

What Does Exercising in Gyms Look like Now?
Gym and other fitness facility members must always wear a face covering when inside the establishment except for strenuous exercises. The definition of ‘strenuous exercise’ will vary from person to person. That means each person must evaluate whether they should wear a mask or not while exercising. Each gym and fitness facility has to follow various safety protocols, for example, spacing equipment 6 feet apart, ensuring people remain 6 feet apart during fitness classes, and applying various cleaning and sanitation protocols.


Important Dates of The Different Phases 

  • The shutdown began on March 30
  • North Carolina entered Phase 1 on May 8 
  • North Carolina entered Phase 2 on May 22 
  • North Carolina entered Phase 2.5 on September 4

Below are some links of previous stories regarding the “Safer at Home” order throughout the different phases. For more information regarding Phase 2.5 click here, click herefor FAQ questions and here for the breakdown of each phase