RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Copper announced Wednesday, April 28, a new executive order that no longer requires wearing masks outdoors and increases limits on indoor and outdoor mass gatherings.

Under Executive Order 209, masks are still required indoors. The governor’s office said the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) still strongly recommended masks outdoors in crowded areas and in settings of high risk where social distancing was difficult.

The new order takes effect April 30 and is set to expire on June 1.

Under the new order, the number of people who can gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100. Outdoor gatherings will increase from 100 to 200.

Cooper said he will lift the indoor mask mandate once two-thirds of N.C. adults are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

Also on April 28, Cooper and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen gave an update on the state’s current trends and vaccination progress. They cited the state’s metrics and said key indicators remain stable. As more people throughout the state get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1.

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic”, Cooper said. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many possible vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”

State leaders announced in April the possibility of lifting the mask mandate once two-thirds of adult North Carolinians had received at least one vaccine dose and if COVID-19 metrics remained stable.

As of April 28, the state had administered over 7 million doses of the COVID vaccine with 47.7% of those 18 and older at least partially vaccinated. Cohen said there was now enough vaccines for everyone and stated they are both free and widely available across the state.

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