On Thursday, April 9, 2020, NC Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 131, which mandates additional requirements for retail establishments and long term care facilities to endeavor to slow the spread of COVID-19. Below are some highlights from the order. To read the order in its entirety, please visit the COVID-19 page.
For purposes of this Executive Order, “retail establishments” include any business in which customers enter to purchase goods or services, including but not limited to grocery stores, convenience stores, large-format retail stores, pharmacies, banks, ABC stores, hardware stores, and vehicle dealerships. ··Retail establishments’· also includes retail establishments operated by the State, its political subdivisions, or agencies thereof.
Emergency Maximum Occupancy
- The occupancy of all operating retail establishments shall be limited to be no more than:
• Twenty percent (20%) of the stated fire capacity; or
• Five (5) customers for every one thousand ( I 000) square feet of the retail location’s total square footage, including non-customer-facing portions.
This limit is the “Emergency Maximum Occupancy” for that establishment.
- If the retail establishment has reached Emergency Maximum Occupancy or expects to reach Emergency Maximum Occupancy, it must post sufficient staff at store entrances and exits to enforce the Emergency Maximum Occupancy limit.
The Emergency Maximum Occupancy shall be posted in a conspicuous place.
Social Distance Markings
- To encourage the minimum Social Distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (”CDC”), all operating retail establishments must clearly mark six (6) feet of spacing:
a. In lines at cash registers; and
b. In other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at deli counters and near high-volume products, inside the retail establishment.
All operating retail establishments must enforce these limitations.
- In addition, operating retail establishments which have reached or expect to reach Emergency Maximum Occupancy must clearly mark six (6) feet of spacing in a designated line outside
Impact on Businesses Remaining Open.
Section 2(C)( I) of Executive Order No. 121 allowed some businesses and operations to remain open only if they could maintain specified Social Distancing Requirements. These businesses and operations must now also meet the Additional Social Distancing Requirements specified in this Section to remain open. Businesses or operations that received letters from the North Carolina Department of Revenue stating that they could continue to operate only if they satisfied the Social Distancing Requirements in Executive Order No. 121 must also satisfy the Additional Social Distancing Requirements to remain open.
Long Term Care Risk Mitigation Measures
Skilled nursing facilities shall:
- Remind staff to stay home when they are ill and prevent any staff who are ill from coming to work and/or staying at work.
- Screen all staff at the beginning of their shift for fever and respiratory symptoms. This shall
a. Actively taking that staff member’s temperature; and
b. Documenting an absence of any shortness of breath, any new cough or changes in
cough, and any sore throat.
If the staff member is ill, the facility must have the staff member put on a face mask and leave
- Cancel communal dining and all group activities, including internal and external activities.
- Implement universal use of facemasks for all staff while in the facility, assuming supplies are available.
- Actively monitor all residents upon admission, and at least daily, for fever and respiratory
symptoms (shortness of breath, new cough or change in cough, and sore throat), and shall
continue to monitor residents.
- Notify the local health department immediately about either of the following:
a. Any resident with new, confirmed, or suspected COVID-19.
b. A cluster of residents or staff with symptoms of respiratory illness. A “cluster” of residents or staff means three (3) or more people (residents or staff) with new-onset respiratory symptoms in a period of 72 hours.
C. Other kinds of long term care facilities. Adult care homes, family care homes, mental health group homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities are strongly encouraged to follow the mitigation measures listed in subdivisions (I ) through (6) above, assuming supplies are available.