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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Large, Outdoor NC Venues Allowed To Open At Limited Capacity

Bank of America Stadium
Michael Tomsic

Large, outdoor entertainment venues in North Carolina will be allowed to have people in attendance beginning Oct. 2 in the latest loosening of coronavirus restrictions announced by Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday.


The state’s definition of "large" entertainment venues are those that seat more than 10,000 – which means the Carolina Panthers and area colleges can now have fans.

Capacity will be limited to 7% of the building capacity, Cooper said.

The Panthers next home game is Oct. 4, when they host the Arizona Cardinals; 7% of Bank of America Stadium capacity would equate to about 5,200 fans.

“We plan to take another step toward Phase 3 in the coming days if our progress holds,” Cooper said. “That step will mean larger outdoor event venues will be able to open at 7% capacity starting next Friday, Oct. 2."

North Carolina currently is in “Phase 2.5” of reopening, which allowed gyms, museums and playgrounds to open at limited capacity. That order expires Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.

Some sports teams have already received permission from the state to have a small number of fans in the stands. North Carolina State University and other college football programs across the state were able to have two parents per player — up to 350 people — attend games last weekend. Cooper's easing of Phase 2 reopening restrictions would allow even more people to attend games if they are masked and physically distant from another.

During Tuesday's news conference, the governor also said he would get a COVID-19 vaccine once the Food and Drug Administration approves it and it’s his turn to receive it after essential workers.

In the meantime, he wants North Carolinians to get flu shots in preparation for a possible surge in coronavirus spread during the fall and winter months, which many infectious disease experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have predicted.

“We've got to make sure that we continue our efforts getting people vaccinated, not only for COVID-19 when it comes but all other diseases that are out there,” Cooper said.

North Carolina reported a coronavirus positivity rate on Tuesday approaching the state's goal of 5%, with 5.4% of COVID-19 tests coming back positive. The rate was as low as 4.6% last week. The state's daily case count has steadily declined since the start of September, while the number of active hospitalizations in the state has held steady around 900.

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Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.