NC executive order bans mass gatherings. Here's what that means for weddings, funerals

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Monday, March 16, 2020
NC executive order bans mass gatherings. Here's what that means for weddings, funerals
NC executive order bans mass gatherings. Here's what that means for weddings, funerals

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Saturday closing all schools for the next two weeks along with prohibiting mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

So what counts as a mass gathering?

According to the executive order, a mass gathering is defined as "any event or convening that brings together more than one hundred (100) persons in a single room or single space at the same time."

This includes an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. This also includes parades, fair and festivals.

Gov. Roy Cooper orders all K-12 public schools to close as more coronavirus cases are announced

It's also having a major impact on weddings. Brides-to-be have been forced to reschedule their ceremonies.

Funerals have also been affected. with the bereaved making the tough decision to wait or go ahead with services.

The NC Board of Funeral Service on Monday said it "encourages families to consider the risks associated with potential exposure to the coronavirus in large gatherings."

Elana Walker, a Raleigh event planner, has seen the effect that the ban has had on weddings.

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She has eight coming up in the next few weeks and is trying to reschedule all of them.

That includes nuptials for Allison Delaney and Matt Cornett on May 2.

Even though the legal limit on gatherings still stands at 100, their wedding at the Walnut Hill venue will have more than 100 guests.

They are finally coming to terms with the fact that they will have to postpone.

But until when?

Delaney is thinking it may have to be several months.

"It's definitely disappointing but, I mean, obviously we're worried about our family members," she said. "We have some sick and elderly family members that definitely wouldn't be able to attend. But just getting everybody together and then having them go visit those relatives is so risky so it's very disappointing but I would much rather protect our close friends and family and keep them healthy."

The Wake County District Attorney appreciates that attitude.

She says limiting the number of people attending ceremonies is for the greater good.

So law enforcement in Wake County will enforce the ban, even issuing citations and making arrests if necessary.

What doesn't count as a mass gathering

Normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls or other spaces with more than 100 people gathered are not prohibited.

Mass gatherings also do not include office environments, restaurants, factories, grocery stores or other retail establishments.

Social distancing

All people are urged to maintain social distancing by staying six feet away from others when possible. It's important to continue washing your hands, using sanitizer and coughing into your elbow.

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The executive order will remain in effect for 30 days.