North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday issued an executive order further restricting the number of people in retail and grocery stores and preventing group gatherings in nursing homes in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
A third part of the order aims to make filing for unemployment easier.
Effective Monday at 5 p.m., the restrictions on retail and grocery stores limits the number of people inside the buildings to no more than 20% of the fire capacity. Additionally, stores must mark six feet of distance at gathering points such as checkout lines, and perform frequent environmental cleaning.
Stores also are encouraged to provide hand sanitizer, set specific shopping hours for senior or at-risk people, use shields at checkouts and mark aisles as “one way” to limit traffic.
“This should make shopping safer for customers and retail employees and help prevent stores from becoming flash points for virus transmission,” Cooper said.
The part of the order focusing on nursing homes makes mandatory several measures previously issued as guidance: dining and group activities in common spaces are no longer allowed, employees must wear face masks and employees and residents must be screened for symptoms of illness.
“We’re focusing efforts on these congregate care institutions since the nature of the virus makes them easy targets for outbreaks,” Cooper said.
The third part of the order makes it easier for an employer to file a batch of claims on behalf of employees, known as an “attached claim.”
“We hope to get benefits in the hands of those who need them faster,” Cooper said.
Since March 16, the state has received more than 497,000 unemployment claims and processed $40.3 million to North Carolina residents.
The order is in effect until the end of May -- past the North Carolina stay-at-home order that expires April 29. The full executive order can be found here.
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