RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper said he is signing an executive order that will close in-person classes for public K-12 schools through May 15.
The governor acknowledged that the school closures have been “extremely difficult” for parents and children alike.
“This is what we need to do to slow the spread of the virus,” Cooper said.
The governor said he has asked education leaders to develop a plan to maximize the remaining time of the school year.
The plan will include a way for school employees to work safely and get paid, Cooper said.
This is the third executive order signed by Cooper during the pandemic.
The third order bans mass gatherings of more than 50 people – a change from the previous order that set the threshold at 100 people.
It also closes gyms and health clubs as well as salons and barber shops as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Sweepstakes parlors are also ordered to close.
The governor encouraged businesses affected by the third executive order to close even before 5 p.m. Wednesday if possible.
Cooper said grocery stores will remain open along with restaurants offering takeout and delivery.
“I ask again – please do not overbuy at the grocery store,” Cooper said.
The governor said grocery store officials say their supply lines remain open.
“We know the effects of this pandemic will not subside anytime soon,” Cooper said.
Cooper said more than 8,000 tests have been completed and 10,000 tests are waiting to be administered.
Dr. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the CDC has issued new guidelines in terms of who is high risk.
Cohen said those 65 and older, people living in nursing homes, people with chronic conditions at any age as well as people with severe obesity, heart disease or diabetes at any age.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Cooper’s remarks come as the number of cases across the state eclipsed 300 on Monday.
NCDHHS reported 297 cases earlier in the day. Since that announcement, Mecklenburg County revealed 17 more cases and Johnston County announced one more.
A total of 45 North Carolina counties have cases of COVID-19.