Several NC state parks hit max capacity as state considers reopening in Phase 2

Monday, May 18, 2020
State Parks in North Carolina hit capacity as state considers reopening in Phase Two
As early as 11 a.m. on Sunday, several state parks hit max capacity as parkgoers rushed to get back to their favorite outdoor ventures at places like Raven Rock, Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- State Parks reopened May 9 under Phase 1 of Governor Roy Cooper's executive order. This weekend, several state parks were full including Raven Rock, Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock, which reached capacity by Sunday at 11 a.m.

This week, state leaders decide whether North Carolina is able to move into Phase 2.

"I'm optimistic," said Colin Fisher a park visitor at Umstead State Park in Raleigh. On Sunday, he walked a nature trail with his new girlfriend.

"It's kind of been a nice way to forget about the world for a little bit," Fisher tells ABC11.

Fisher, a Durham native, is cautiously hopeful Gov. Cooper will move the state into Phase 2 of his executive order, which could happen as early as this Friday.

Under Phase 2: Gyms, entertainment venues, nail and hair salons, places of worship, playgrounds, and bars and restaurants could reopen with modifications.

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"I think the sad truth of it is there's going to be repercussions, but ultimately it's just not realistic for us to stay inside," Fisher said. "I think we need to adapt and find a way to live with this virus."

State leaders hope to hit certain benchmarks when moving to Phase 2 such as increased testing, decreases in positive tests and hospitalizations and more contact tracing of the virus.

Both On Thursday and Friday of last week, the state's total COVID-19 cases spiked since North Carolina's first positive case in early March.

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Health officials say the rise is likely due to more testing.

"I'm grateful Governor Cooper has been going slowly," said Susie Post-Rust, a visitor at Umstead State Park Sunday. Susie and her daughter Rosie tell ABC11 there were so many people at the park that it was hard to social distance. "I think it's so inconsiderate not to wear a mask."