On Dec. 8, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new, modified stay at home order for North Carolina. This order, which begins on Dec. 11, states that people are required to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The new stay at home order also states that restaurants must halt alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. The statewide mask mandate is still in place under this new order. Traveling to and from work, to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services or to take care of family members is acceptable even during the hours of the curfew.
On Dec. 10, there were over 220,000 new cases of COVID-19 and over 2,900 deaths reported on the same day. With the holidays quickly approaching, it is important to remember to wear a mask, wash hands and remain six feet away from other people. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise at alarming rates. Before making plans for the holidays with friends or family members, be sure to check case rates in the area in which the gathering may take place. This data can be found on local health department websites, according to the CDC. Keeping indoor gatherings short — 15 minutes or less for optimum safety — and wearing masks the whole time can decrease risks of contracting the virus. If being inside is necessary due to weather and temperature, opening windows can help, as well. When serving food at holiday gatherings, wear a mask while cooking or serving food, and while eating try to limit the amount of time one’s mask is off.
Though COVID-19 continues to impede daily life in the United States, taking the necessary steps and precautions to slow the spread of the virus will enable life to go back to normal sooner rather than later. The holidays are a time for family and friends, but innovating new ways to spend time with them is possible, and both North Carolina’s guidelines and common sense rules can be adhered to while still enjoying the holiday season.
By Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer, and Olivia Slack, Co-Editor in Chief