By WBTV Web Staff | June 11, 2021 at 2:27 PM EDT – Updated June 11 at 8:01 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) – Governor Roy Cooper is extending North Carolina’s COVID-19 state of emergency until at least the end of July, days after some state lawmakers wrote him a letter, asking what it would take to end.
On Friday, Cooper announced that he signed an Executive Order to extend a variety of measures currently in place to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic until July 30.
“We are seeing tremendous improvement with fewer cases, hospitalizations, deaths and safety restrictions, but this is no time to hang up a “Mission Accomplished” banner in our fight against the pandemic,” said Gov. Cooper. “We are laser focused on getting more shots in arms, boosting our economy and protecting unvaccinated people from the virus and this Executive Order is essential for those efforts.”
While the governor has consistently eased restrictions as trends have improved, a state of emergency remains in effect as North Carolina emerges from the pandemic, along with measures including:
- State Evictions Prohibitions
- Face covering requirements in certain settings such as public transportation, schools, health care and childcare facilities, in accordance with CDC guidance
- Unemployment Insurance flexibility
Earlier in the week, state lawmakers wrote a letter asking what it would take for the governor to end a more-than-450-day-long state of emergency that has been in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 10, 2020, Gov. Cooper issued the initial executive order declaring a State of Emergency as part of North Carolina’s preparedness plan for COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic the following day, March 11.
In a press release, legislators pointed to a recent announcement by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster that there will no longer be a state of emergency in that state related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“North Carolina has now been under a self-declared state of emergency for over 450 days,” the letter states. “In response to a question about ending your emergency order during a June 2nd press conference, you said, ‘We are still in the middle of this pandemic’ and ‘The State of Emergency needs to continue.’ We believe this is unsatisfactory.”
The lawmakers say the goal of their letter is to at least get “specific details on how and when the state of emergency can be lifted.”
The governor’s office says under the State of Emergency, North Carolina has easier access to federal funding including FEMA Public Assistance reimbursements, and schools can follow uniform safety guidance under the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit. The State of Emergency also reportedly allows critical regulatory flexibility for the NC Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of people authorized to administer vaccines and COVID-19 tests and for the movement of COVID-19 patients in rehab and other facilities.
The governor’s office also says under the State of Emergency, NC DHHS continues to allow temporary additional flexibility for tele-health opportunities and for out-of-state licensed workers to practice in North Carolina and for retired health care professionals, students in training and skilled volunteers to provide care. The Department also continues to allow expanded access to healthcare and Medicaid services and food and nutrition programs until the end of the State of Emergency.
“The Governor and state health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s trends and review actions of other states and plan to continue lifting restrictions as more people are vaccinated and the state winds down pandemic response efforts,” a press release read.
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