North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper held a briefing to provide updates on the state's COVID-19 response.
Cooper made the announcement to ease restrictions and increase capacity limits as North Carolina continues to see improvements in the COVID-19 metrics.
The governor's Executive Order No. 204 will go into effect on Friday, March 26 at 5 p.m.
This order will increase maximum occupancy limits in several areas. But importantly, masks and 6 feet of social distancing still will be required for all of these establishments, and that means some of them may not be able to reach the maximum occupancy allowed by the order.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) March 23, 2021
Under Cooper's order, the number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 25 to 50 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 50 to 100.
Places such as museums, aquariums, retail shops, salons and tattoo shops can open up at 100% capacity.
Restaurants, wineries and breweries, gyms, pools, recreation centers, and amusement parks can open indoors with a 75% capacity limit and outdoors at 100%.
Bars, lounges, conference centers, sports arenas, and live performance venues will be able to increase capacity up to 50% indoors and outdoors.
Movie theaters and gaming facilities will operate with an increased capacity up to 50% indoors and 75% outside.
Also effective Friday, North Carolina will lift the 11 p.m. curfew for on-site alcohol consumption.
The mass gathering limit, which covers other kinds of gatherings not otherwise laid out in the order, will be increased to 50% indoors and 100% outdoors.
The order will still require masks to be worn and to maintain a six feet distance.
Cooper reiterated the importance of remaining strong as the state eases restrictions. During the briefing, officials highlighted North Carolina's rapid administration of the vaccine.
According to officials, 18% of North Carolina residents 18-years-old and older are fully vaccinated and 31.8% partially vaccinated. To date, the state has administered over 4.1 million doses.