The Carolinas

SC Restaurants, Parks Reopen As Virus Restrictions Loosened

May 4, 2020
Tobias Tullius / Unsplash

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina has officially begun loosening restrictions on travel, commerce and recreation implemented during the initial spread of the coronavirus, as the state tries to regain its economic footing ahead of the summertime tourist season.

Table Rock Mountain
TiffyBeth / CC BY-SA (

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Several state parks in South Carolina quickly reached capacity Sunday on the first weekend they were open after a lengthy closure because of the coronavirus.

State lawmakers are working out details − and their differences − on legislation to distribute more than $1 billion dollars in coronavirus relief funds.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Giuseppe Losavio, owner of Enzo’s Pizza in Gastonia, said he’d been planning to open his dining area May 8 until he heard there was a new plan for Gaston County. In a Wednesday morning press conference, County Commission Chairman Tracy Phlibeck said the county was "open for business"as long as businesses followed safety guildelines, despite the state's order.

In Gaston County, the policy lists the type of personnel action, up to dismissal, that an employee making unauthorized purchases might face.
Hlecroy / Wikimedia Commons

Gaston County Commissioner Chad Brown, who also serves on the county board’s of health, says he agrees with the opening of nonessential businesses. However, law enforcement will take action if they don’t follow social distancing.

Updated modeling shows social distancing is working, and the spread of the coronavirus has slowed in North Carolina.

But that doesn't mean the state is in the clear.

NC Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, in file photo from April 23, 2020
NC Department of Public Safety

Gaston County officials announced they would allow businesses to open up as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. But the state’s top health official says the move could endanger many vulnerable North Carolinians.



Dr. Elly Steel normally works as a dentist for the Cabarrus Health Alliance, the county’s health department. But her role has shifted since the middle of March. With nonessential dental work paused because of the coronavirus, Steel has a new job: contact tracing, the process of finding and monitoring people who come into contact with an infected person.


NC Data Release Shows 4 Nursing Homes With 10-plus Deaths

Apr 27, 2020

RALEIGH — Four North Carolina nursing homes have each had at least 10 deaths of residents diagnosed with COVID-19, according to data released on Monday by state health officials.

Thom Tillis

As North Carolina’s stay-at-home order continues, hundreds of protestors – like Gary Jesmock — are having weekly marches in Raleigh.

Steve Harrison/WFAE

A member of Reopen NC who administers the group's Facebook page had tested positive for the coronavirus and has been under quarantine for two weeks.

South Carolina has approved more than $4 million in unemployment claims since its new program began on Friday for some workers who were not previously eligible for unemployment, like the self-employed and contract workers.  

North Carolina Session To Begin With COVID-19 Aid Consensus

Apr 27, 2020
The North Carolina legislative building is seen in Raleigh.

RALEIGH — A North Carolina legislative session anticipated months ago to repeat the acrimony from last year’s budget impasse between Republicans and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper begins Tuesday with expectations of consensus to address COVID-19.

McMaster Issuing New Emergency Declaration As SC Begins To Reopen

Apr 27, 2020
South Carolina/ETV

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Henry McMaster is expected on Monday to extend the state's emergency declaration that allows him to issue executive orders necessary to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.


South Carolina's largest health care system has received a shipment of 1.3 million surgical masks from manufacturers in China. The masks will be distributed to Prisma Health hospitals and facilities across South Carolina — and represent a little less than month's supply for the hospital system.



Some businesses in Georgia are now open after Gov. Brian Kemp gave an executive order. Blue Ridge Public Radio talks to a Cherokee County official what this means for Western North Carolina. 

N.C. Department of Public Safety

Gov. Roy Cooper announced he's extending North Carolina's stay-at-home order until May 8, saying the state was "not ready to lift restrictions" in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 


The shift to remote learning, emergency meals and other adjustments to the COVID-19 crisis have created an additional $382 million in needs for North Carolina public schools.

The Outer Banks is opening up to at least some outsiders again after barring visitors for weeks.

Local officials are opening Dare County's part of the barrier islands to non-resident property owners in phases beginning May 4. This will let them prepare houses for the summer rental season.


A bill approved by a North Carolina House panel Thursday would allow school districts to open schools a week early next year to offset losses from the coronavirus closing this year.


The North Carolina Board of Education approved a policy Thursday that would mostly eliminate student letter grades for this school year, while leaving decisions about promotion to principals.


Workers who aren’t usually eligible for unemployment are getting some financial relief through a federal stimulus program. North Carolina is working on getting the program up and running so workers can apply applying for benefits by the end of this week.

NC Death Records: Many Dying With Symptoms Like COVID-19

Apr 22, 2020
Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

In late March, Mary Wyatt was concerned about her husband, Frank. They’d been married 66 years and had moved around the country together as he pursued his military career and then worked in the state of Florida. Now they were retired in Cherokee County.


Students, parents and school employees are waiting anxiously to hear whether North Carolina’s schools will reopen in May – and so is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

Steve Harrison / WFAE

RALEIGH -- Hundreds of protesters with the group ReOpen NC marched past the State Capitol in Raleigh on Tuesday, demanding that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper move quickly to end his stay-at-home order.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

RALEIGH — Five food processing facilities in the state are each experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19 among employees, North Carolina health officials said Tuesday.

A Generous Life, Shortened By COVID-19

Apr 21, 2020

Bill Bauer was the kind of guy Mimi Stallings had dreamed of since she was a girl — patient and kind, a good listener who had the old-fashioned charm to surprise her with a box of candy when he picked her up for a date.


North Carolina’s stay-at-home order has hit many small businesses hard. A group called Reopen NC is holding a protest Tuesday at the state capitol in Raleigh, calling on leaders to lift restrictions on businesses ordered to close because of the coronavirus. But there’s no sign of whether Gov. Roy Cooper will let the order expire at the end of the month.

Duke Energy has seven coal-fired power plants in the Carolinas, including the Allen Steam Station in Belmont.

A group of commercial energy users wants Duke Energy to waive fixed monthly fees during the coronavirus pandemic. Duke says it's willing to work with customers individually, but the fees are needed to keep its power network running.

North Carolina Legislative building

Gov. Roy Cooper’s legal counsel said today a planned protest Tuesday by the group ReOpen NC is allowed under the stay-at-home order.