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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new executive order Thursday, requiring additional social distancing on any stores currently open. The order notably prohibits the number of people in a store at a given time, and increases social distancing measures in those stores.

Open stores will now only be able to have a limited number of people in them at the same time. They will also be required to mark 6-foot distance lines at gathering points, like checkout lines, and must frequently do environmental cleaning and disinfection.

“Effective Monday at 5 pm, stores may not have a number of people inside at one time that is more than 20% of the stated fire capacity or either 5 people for every 1,000 square feet,” Gov. Cooper said.

Many stores have already implemented these types of measures, and Gov. Cooper said he wants to make sure these places are all safe for residents.

The order also increased screening requirements at nursing homes for employees and residents, and also put in measures to get more unemployment claims processed faster.

From the Governor’s Office:


This Order offers clear requirements that essential businesses must implement in order to safeguard the health of customers and employees. Some of the directives include:

  • Setting limits of how many people can be in a store at one time, 5 people per 1,000 square feet of retail space or 20% of fire marshal posted occupancy limits
  • Marking 6 feet of distance for areas where people gather like checkout lines
  • Requiring specific cleaning measures for retail stores

The Order encourages:

  • Implementing hygiene recommendations for employees and customers, like hand sanitizer at the doors and face coverings for workers
  • Establishing designated shopping times designated for high-risk groups
  • Creating barriers between customers and employees at checkout to lower the risk of required interactions

Creating barriers between customers and employees at checkout to lower the risk of required interactions

The Order states these requirements will last for thirty days unless extended by further executive action.



The Order sets public health and safety requirements for nursing homes during the public health emergency. The Order encourages other long-term care facilities to follow the same guidance. Some of the directives include:

  • Canceling communal activities, including group meals
  • Taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility
  • Requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility
  • Requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 health indicators like body temperature

The Order states these requirements will last until this order is repealed.



The Order makes it easier for employers to file a batch of claims, called an attached claim, on behalf of their employees. By temporarily eliminating some of the hurdles for employers, benefits can get in the hands of those who need them faster.

The Order will extend 60 days beyond the date the state of emergency is lifted to allow employers to get back on their feet.

Additionally, the Department of Employment Services issued information on timing of federal benefits reaching North Carolinians today.

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.