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Executive order eases mask restrictions, people no longer need to wear them outdoors

Gov. Roy Cooper's new executive order went into effect at 5 p.m., Friday.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — More COVID-19 restrictions have loosened in North Carolina. Now masks are no longer required outdoors and more people are allowed at mass gatherings. People still need to wear masks when they are indoors. It's also recommended to wear one outside in crowded areas.

Gov. Roy Cooper's new executive order went into effect at 5 p.m., Friday. Many people in downtown Greensboro said the move is a sign of progress.

"It's going to be good because masks are really hard to breathe in," said Lily Mason, an elementary school-aged tourist from Maryland.

 "It's going to be nice to just be able to have family over for the Fourth of July. I hope we're able to have a picnic, you know,"  Elizabeth Musgrove of Greensboro said.

RELATED: Gov. Cooper lifts outdoor mask mandate, increases mass gathering limit

With 40% of the state's population fully vaccinated, the governor's new order cautiously loosened the mask mandate. He promised to lift more restrictions if two-thirds of the state is vaccinated.

"It's going to give us more freedom so that we can be out and feel comfortable," Dawn Cheney of Greensboro said.

The order also expanded mass gathering limits to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. However, capacity limits at businesses stay the same. Despite the loosened restrictions, some people said they plan to keep the mask on for a while longer.

"For people with autoimmune diseases, the effect of the COVID is a little bit unknown," Terry Nile of Greensboro said.

 "I don't know... I don't want to have the coronavirus," said Aubry Mason, Lily's younger sister.

Cooper said he might lift the mask mandate and other restrictions by June 1, if COVUD-19 metrics continue to trend positively.