The epidemic, the virus sweeping the world, the novel coronavirus, all names for the monster hiding at every corner: COVID-19. Everywhere, people around the globe have been isolated in their homes for weeks on end. The original N.C. stay-at-home-order was put in effect March 30. It detailed a list of permitted businesses, only allowing essential workers to continue work for the following weeks.
The light seemed to have appeared at the end of the tunnel, however, when Governor Roy Cooper announced and implemented updated plans for easing restrictions beginning May 22. Many ideas for reintegrating society have emerged from various sources; this one boasts a three-phased plan for a steady reopening.
Phase One expanded restricted operations to businesses and parks, excluding public playgrounds, schools, entertainment and personal care businesses. While businesses were allowed to open, they were under several mandates to best protect their customers and employees. Every business will operate at a maximum of 50% fire capacity, requiring customers to maintain at least six feet of distance. Face masks, hand sanitizer and frequent hand-washing are strongly advised when leaving one’s house.
“You think it’s gonna feel free-ing but it doesn’t. It only makes you realize how different things are going to be. Like I went to the orthodontist today, and before I even came in they had to check my temperature and ask me all these questions. I was basically the only patient there; they were only doing one person at a time,” Sophie Haugh, sophomore.
The Phase Two order transitioned the state from “Stay at Home” to a “Safer at Home” mindset, beginning May 22. More businesses have opened, though regular symptom screenings must occur, and the populace is urged to follow safety guidelines. Added emphasis was put on wearing face masks while not at home. Businesses would continue operating at 50% fire capacity, spacing customers at least 6 feet apart at all times. The only businesses to remain closed until Phase Three are bars, gyms, night clubs and bowling alleys. The third phase of the governor’s plan was projected to begin June 26.
Positive reports have continuously risen, due to both increased testing and viral transmission. A vaccination for the current strain of coronavirus is in development, though not available for use. Opening rapidly and disrespecting health recommendations will cause increased cases and deaths. The recovery from this worldwide disaster will be slow and arduous.
“Everyone has this idea that when we get out of stay-at-home-order we’ll be back to normal but it’s not because obviously a vaccination hasn’t been made, we’re still in the pandemic. You don’t snap your fingers and the pandemic is suddenly over,” said Haugh.