Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order this week, moving North Carolina into Phase Two of his plan to ease more COVID-19 restrictions in the state. The following are some of the frequently asked questions about what’s permitted and what’s not during Phase Two, which takes effect Friday at 5 p.m. and continues until June 26.

Does this lift Cooper’s stay at home order?

Yes, this order lifts the statewide stay at home order. However, it is important to stay home if you are sick. While in public, people should wear a cloth face covering, practice social distancing by waiting 6 feet apart from others while in public, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. High-risk individuals are urged to stay at home and travel only for absolutely essential purposes.

Difference between Phase 2, Phase 1?

Besides lifting the governor’s stay-at-home order, the order allows restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limits on occupancy, specific requirements for disinfection of common spaces, and 6 feet between each group of customers sitting at each table.

It also allows personal care, grooming, massage, and tattoo businesses to open as long as they follow specific requirements for disinfection of equipment, face coverings for service providers, six feet of distance between customers, and at 50 percent reduced occupancy.

Child care businesses can open to serve all children and overnight camps can reopen, as long as they follow state health guidelines. Indoor and outdoor pools can also reopen with 50 percent reduced occupancy.

Sporting and entertainment events can be held in large venues for broadcast to the public, so long as they comply with the mass gathering limit of no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

People can gather for social purposes as long as they do not exceed the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

What stays the same in Phase Two?

Public playgrounds, bars and nightclubs, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades, skating rinks, bingo parlors and other gaming establishments remain closed.

Also ordered to stay closed are indoor-space facilities like spas, gyms, fitness studios, martial arts facilities, dance studios, trampoline and rock-climbing facilities, roller skating and ice staking rinks, and basketball courts.

Visitation at long-term care facilities remains restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations.

What is the new mass gathering limit?

Gatherings of more than 10 people in a single indoor space remains prohibited. In outdoor spaces, gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. Mass gathering limits apply to parades, fairs, festivals, auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, and meeting halls.

The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, child care, day camps, and overnight camps. In these settings, there are other restrictions to ensure there’s not overcrowding. It also doesn’t apply to places where persons obtain goods and services, airports, bus stations, medical facilities, libraries or shopping malls. It also doesn’t apply to those exercising the right to worship and other First Amendment rights.

Is limit calculated by building or per room?

In public-facing facilities, the mass gathering limit applies per each room of the facility.

What rules must open retail biz follow?

All open retail businesses must limit customers inside their store to emergency maximum occupancy; mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers; post signs reminding customers and workers about social distancing and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter; conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms; immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.

What rules must open restaurants follow?

All restaurants must limit customers in indoor and outdoor seating areas to the emergency maximum occupancy limit. They also must limit customers to no more than six at the same table. More than six may sit together at the same table if they are members of the same household. Restaurants must also ensure that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. They also must ensure customers at counters are separated by six feet; post signs reminding customers and workers about social distancing and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter; conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms; immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.

They must also increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times, and disinfect all shared objects — dining tables, booths, counters, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders, and reusable menus — between each use; promote frequent use of hand-washing and hand sanitizer for wait staff and food service staff throughout the shift and upon reporting to work. They also must mark six feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as a cash register or place where customers wait to be seated at their table.

Face coverings for employees and customers are strongly encouraged. People sitting at a table do not need to be members of the same household. Servers and wait staff are not required to stay six feet away from customers.

What rules must grooming biz follow?

All open personal care and grooming businesses must limit customers to emergency maximum occupancy; arrange seating so that groups of customers are separated from one another by six feet; mark six feet of spacing in lines at the point of sale and in other high-traffic areas such as cash registers and waiting areas; post signs requesting people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter; conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms; immediately isolate and remove sick workers; perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas; ensure that all equipment that comes into direct personal contact with customers and all furniture in service areas — chairs, capes, and the shampooing area in a barber shop or salon — is completely cleaned and disinfected between each customer.

Employees of personal care and grooming businesses must wear face coverings at all times while in the business. It is also strongly recommended that customers at personal care and grooming businesses wear a face covering at all times, and that businesses institute an appointment process and encourage people wait in their vehicle or offsite before being served. Personal care and grooming businesses include barber shops; beauty salons; waxing and hair removal centers; hair salons; nail salons; manicure or pedicure providers; tattoo parlors; tanning salons; and massage therapists/businesses.

How is emergency maximum occupancy calculated for restaurants?

It is the lowest number produced by applying the following three tests: 50 percent of the stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than 12 customers for every 1,000 square feet of total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests); limiting the number of people in the space so that everyone can stay six feet apart; people sitting at a table must not be within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. Moreover, each group of customers sitting at a counter should be separated from other groups by six feet.

If the restaurant expands beyond its existing space — an approved expansion onto a sidewalk or parking lot would be an example — then that expansion space would be counted when making the emergency maximum occupancy calculation.

How is emergency maximum occupancy calculated for retail and personal care and grooming businesses?

It is the lowest number produced by applying the following two tests: Limiting the number of customers in the store to 50 percent of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than 12 customers for every 1,000 square feet of the location’s total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests); limiting the number of people in the store so that everyone can stay six feet apart.

Does the order mean I can gather freely with individuals outside of my household?

North Carolinians can hold small get-togethers that do not have more than 10 people indoors, or 25 people outdoors.

Are houses of worship allowed to hold services in Phase Two?

The mass gathering limit and other requirements in Phase Two do not apply to worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Source: State of North Carolina