RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s governor announced Wednesday that people across the state must wear masks or other face coverings in public to fight the spread of COVID-19, and he extended other restrictions by three more weeks to fight a surge in cases.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order that people must wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance. The order also mandates face coverings for employees of businesses, including retailers and restaurants, as well as state employees in the executive branch.
Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are punishable by misdemeanor.
The governor also said restrictions limiting capacity at retailers, restaurants and public gatherings will remain in place for three more weeks.
The order comes as the state reports its second-highest, one-day jump in virus cases at around 1,700. About 900 people are currently hospitalized, also representing the second-highest mark in that category.
Cooper said the state currently has sufficient hospital capacity, but that could quickly change if virus trends don’t improve.