North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday tighter assembly and business restrictions in an attempt to dull the spread of the new coronavirus, including the extended shuttering of K-12 schools until mid-May.
Cooper said he would issue a new executive order that would make it a misdemeanor for assemblies of more than 50 people, compared to the current prohibition of over 100. The 50-person limit is in keeping with the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cooper’s order also will direct all hair salons and barber shops, gyms, movie theaters and similar businesses offering activities that run counter to social distancing to close by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Amanda Thompson, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher. “I mean, I understand why, but honestly, so today was my third Skype meeting with my students. And my students are eager to get back and see each other — like we miss each other. So, I’m just trying to keep it together for them, figuring out how I can I try and keep us connected, but also keep them encouraged and motivated to continue doing work.”
And public schools statewide will now remain closed for in-person instruction until May 15. He had already ordered closings of at least two weeks beginning March 16.
In the effort to ensure children in low-income families have enough to eat during the closures, the state’s 115 school districts, helped by food banks, churches and volunteers, had served 1.2 million meals and 6,500 snacks through Sunday, Cooper’s office said.
State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis said there’s now a statewide daily capacity to distribute 571,000.