Wake County allows stay-at-home order to expire, loosening restrictions to allow gatherings of 10 people

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County officials announced it would not extend its stay-at-home order past its current expiration date of April 30.

According to a spokesperson for the county, 11 of the county's 12 municipalities will transition to the state's stay-at-home order on May 1. That order is set to expire May 8.

Apex is expected to issue its own proclamation.

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"We put our order in place in late March to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wake County, one day before the Governor issued the state-wide Stay-at-Home order," said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford in a written statement. "Our community was affected first by the virus, making it vital that we act more swiftly. But now that there is community spread and we are all fighting to slow the spread collectively, it's appropriate to follow the state's order, which provides some additional flexibility to our residents."

The most notable difference between the two orders was the limit on public gatherings. While Gov. Roy Cooper's order limits public and private gatherings to less than 10 people, Wake County's order did not allow gatherings of any size.

Wake County's proclamation also specifically urged those at high risk of severe symptoms related to COVID-19 to avoid leaving their home for any reason, including going to essential businesses like the grocery store--except to seek medical care.

RELATED: What is an 'essential activity' under Gov. Cooper's Stay-at-Home order?

During a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said he would not allow counties to implement restrictions looser than those imposed by the stay-at-home order. He called his order a statewide "floor" that individual counties and cities could build upon to add stricter restrictions.

"We know this virus does not respect county lines," Cooper said. "We know that there are people that live in one county, work in another county, shop in yet another county, and when that happens, the virus can spread from county to county."

However, Cooper said after May 8, the state will look at the possibility of loosening restrictions in certain regions of the state, but current trends show the state is not ready to attempt those regional reopenings.

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He called his order a statewide "floor" that individual counties and cities could build upon to add stricter restrictions.

To date, Wake County has confirmed 796 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths. North Carolina has reported 9,948 cases and 354 deaths.

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