Be Aware: When a 'Reopening' Is Not Really a Reopening - North Carolina Edition

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

In the aftermath of disturbing things happening in my state that I thought I would never see, like a business owner being handcuffed and marched out of his tattoo parlor for attempting to reopen, and another being forced by law enforcement to shut her doors after she reopened her hair salon, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) announced yesterday that the first of the 3 phases of “reopening” the state would begin on Friday starting at 5pm:

North Carolina will begin a slow return to pre-pandemic conditions Friday evening as certain restrictions related to the novel coronavirus are lifted.

In a May 5 briefing, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order to modify the state’s Stay at Home order and transition to Phase 1 of his three-phase reopening plan, according to a press release.

The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. May 8. Cooper previously said Phase 1 is expected to last two to three weeks, or until at least May 22. If data trends look promising, the state would move into Phase 2, which includes the lifting of the stay-at-home order and a limited reopening of other businesses and churches with reduced capacity.

The problem with considering this as the first “phase” of reopening is that not much has really changed:

State Republican leaders aren’t too impressed, either:

Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, is in the process of organizing a lawsuit on behalf of churches around the state who are not impressed with Cooper’s orders on church gatherings, either:

As I’ve written before, this “phased” plan for reopening is sloppy, unfair, and doesn’t take factors into account like the possibility of having counties relax restrictions at a quicker pace than the state. For example, there are some counties in North Carolina that have either very few or no diagnosed cases of the virus at all. Why can’t their approach to reopening be different than the state’s?

The Governor’s executive order that put the stay at home rules in place in late March stated that if a county’s order was stricter than the state’s, then the county’s order would be the one in effect. Why can’t a similar approach be allowed for the counties in terms of loosening the restrictions, too?