Gov. Cooper: Restaurants, bars to close for dine-in customers Tues. evening, amends unemployment guidelines

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will order all restaurants and bars in the state to close for...
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will order all restaurants and bars in the state to close for dine-in customers, effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday.(WBTV (custom credit) | WBTV)
Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 3:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Restaurants and bars in North Carolina will be closed to dine-in customers starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced. Takeout and delivery orders, however, can continue.

“The reality is, people will be losing jobs and businesses have lost customers,” Cooper said.

That being said, Cooper’s executive order does the following:

  • removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits for those workers who lose their jobs;
  • removes the requirement that a person must look for another job during this time when so many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect
  • allows employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to COVID-19 issues, to apply for unemployment benefits
  • waives the requirement that part of the application process be in person
  • directs that these unemployment losses won’t be counted against employers


Before you apply, here’s what you need.


You can apply for benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need help, contact the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Here’s where you can submit an application.

The governor emphasized that grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open at this time.

LIVE: Gov. Cooper and Coronavirus Task Force hold media briefing >>

Posted by WECT News on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

On Monday, Cooper requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration grant a disaster declaration for business owners in North Carolina facing economic losses due to the novel coronavirus.

According to Cooper, a significant federal relief package is being worked on to help business owners and employees.

As of Tuesday, there had been 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus across 16 counties in North Carolina, to include: Wake County (14 cases), Mecklenburg County (7), Forsyth (2), Johnston (2), Harnett (2), Chatham (1), Durham (1), Wayne (1), Craven (1), Onslow (1) and Brunswick (1).

There have been 1,100 completed tests and thousands more taken and in labs across the state. So far, there have been no deaths in North Carolina related to COVID-19.

“These are unsettling times. I know some people are afraid. Some are angry. Many are worried. But we will get through this. You have my personal commitment and the commitment of my administration to work tirelessly and make the very best decisions we can,” Cooper said.

Many people have raised questions regarding daycare and childcare centers remaining open since public K-12 schools have been ordered to be closed for two weeks. Cooper explained daycare facilities have very specific guidelines to keep everyone safe. The reality is that childcare is essential for those working on the front lines of COVID-19.

“For those who decide they can remain open, we are so grateful," said Dr. Mandy Cohen with NCDHHS.

While President Trump recommends keeping gatherings to 10 people or less; and the CDC recommends 50; an order for North Carolina remains in place to keep mass gatherings to 100 people or less.

Click here for the complete list of North Carolina guidance.

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.