Two days before it was set to expire, Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Jan. 6 that he was extending his current modified stay-at-home order at least through Jan. 29.

“With these additional actions, we hope to get our numbers down,” Cooper said. “Our top priority is, and must be, saving lives and keeping our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. This is truly a matter of life or death.”

Several times recently, new state records have been set for new COVID-19 cases and deaths resulting from the virus in a single day. The percentages of COVID-19 tests coming back positive have also been up.

Cooper asked local governments to help enforce the restrictions in his modified stay at home order, which began Dec. 11.

Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland and North Wilkesboro Town Manager Wilson Hooper said town officials are hesitant to enforce them due to legal questions raised by the N.C. School of Government.

Cooper’s order requires that people be home or at places they’re staying for the night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions are allowed for work travel, buying groceries or fuel, medical attention, personal safety, caring for loved ones, religious services and traveling out of state. Homeless people are exempt.

Businesses that must close their doors to the public between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. under the order include bars, restaurants, fitness facilities, movie theaters, entertainment venues, those offering personal care and others.

Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries may offer take-out and delivery after 10 p.m. Patrons who refuse to leave after being asking to do so may be subject to criminal trespass prosecution.

No onsite alcohol consumption sales are allowed between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Third party delivery services may continue after 10 p.m.

Retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, health care supplies may remain open after 10 p.m. Professional and collegiate athletic events already scheduled may also continue after 10 p.m.

Gathering limits remain 10 people for indoor settings and 50 for outdoor settings under the order. Churches are exempt.

Face masks are still required in all public indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of ability to maintain social distance (six feet). Face masks are required in public outdoor settings if people can’t keep six feet apart from non-household members.

Retail business facilities with more than 15,000 square feet of floor space must have a worker at each public entrance who is responsible for enforcing the face covering requirement and capacity limits.

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