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N.C. lawmakers write letter to Gov. Cooper about potentially ending COVID-19 state of emergency

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina lawmakers are wondering what it would take for Governor Roy Cooper to end a 450-day state of emergency that has been in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 10, 2020, Gov. Cooper issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency as part of North Carolina’s preparedness plan for COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic the following day, March 11.

About 15 months later, that state of emergency remains in effect, leaving some lawmakers wondering when it will end.

House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) and House Deputy Majority Whip Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort) sent Gov. Cooper a letter Tuesday calling on him to provide specific details on what “metrics and data” need to be met for the state of emergency to come to an end.

In a press release, legislators pointed to Monday’s announcement by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster that there will no longer be a state of emergency in the state related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“North Carolina has now been under a self-declared state of emergency for over 450 days,” the letter states. “In response to a question about ending your emergency order during a June 2nd press conference, you said, ‘We are still in the middle of this pandemic’ and ‘The State of Emergency needs to continue.’ We believe this is unsatisfactory.”

The lawmakers say the goal of their letter is to at least get “specific details on how and when the state of emergency can be lifted.”

As of June 8, North Carolina has 1,006,255 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 568 hospitalizations and 13,212 deaths.

On May 14, Gov. Cooper lifted all mandatory capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements, and most mandatory mask requirements.

The full letter from lawmakers to the governor about the state of emergency can be found online here.

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