Gov. Cooper executive order requires stricter social distancing rules at stores, make changes to unemployment process

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Governor Roy Cooper announced during a news conference on Thursday that a new executive order will go into effect Monday that will require stricter social distancing guidelines for stores and will change the way unemployment claims are processed.

It goes into effect Monday at 5 p.m.

Under the new order, stores cannot exceed 20 percent of fire capacity or five people for every 1,000 square feet at any given time.

North Carolina-based retailer, Harris Teeter, already announced earlier this week that it has begun reducing the number of people who can enter their stores.

Stores must also have 6-foot markers at congregation areas like checkouts and must perform frequent cleaning and disinfection.

What stores are doing to keep you safe while you shop during the COVID-19 outbreak

Additionally, the executive order will encourage that all stores have shopping hours for seniors and at-risk people as well as have hand sanitizer accessible for shoppers. The governor asks that stores use shields for employees at checkout and limit aisles to one-way traffic.

North Carolina grocery stores offer special hours for senior shoppers

Changes will also be coming to nursing homes.

The executive order will prohibit dining and group activities in common spaces. Employees will be required to wear face masks and facilities will have to screen employees and residents for symptoms of COVID-19.

The third part of the order will require additional measures to get more unemployment claims processed faster.

Financial information during the coronavirus pandemic: Unemployment, stimulus bill, loan information and more

Gov. Cooper says the order will make it easier for employers to file a batch of claims on behalf of their employees.

According to the employment department, 497,000 unemployment claims have been accepted so far.

Gov. Cooper said the department has also received updated guidance from the federal government on how to disburse the supplemental $600 a week benefit. He said those payments are expected to begin by the end of next week.
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