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Coronavirus

North Carolina to further Loosen COVOD-19 Restrictions

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina restaurants, barber shops and salons can welcome patrons inside starting this weekend, after Gov Roy Cooper announced Wednesday the loosening of rules because he says state COVID-19 trends remain largely stable.

But bars, gyms and indoor entertainment venues will remain closed five more weeks.

The Democratic governor announced a new executive order launching the second phase of easing business and assembly restrictions after nonessential businesses and dine-in restaurant service were initially shuttered in March. Two weeks ago, Cooper allowed more businesses to open.

Cooper said he now feels comfortable about the virus data to lift the stay-at-home order and extend partial openings starting Friday afternoon for dine-in eating at restaurants and for personal care services such as barbers.

But Cooper said he didn’t feel good enough about the trends to reopen public playgrounds, movie theaters, fitness centers and other entertainment locales. They’ll have to remain closed until at least June 26.

As of Wednesday morning, the state reported more than 20,100 confirmed cases and 700 deaths, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.

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