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Gov. Roy Cooper ramps up social distancing measures for retail stores

The executive order limits how many people are allowed in one store at a time. It goes into effect Monday at 5 p.m.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — New guidelines will go into place Monday for retail stores across North Carolina. 

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order limiting the number of people that are allowed in a store at one time. 

The order said only 5 people are allowed for every 1,000 square feet of retail space, or 20 percent of fire marshal posted occupancy limits. 

The order also directs stores to mark six feet of distance for areas where several people gather, like checkout lines.

The order requires stores to take specific measures when cleaning.

Nancy Kimbrough, the owner of Bestway, a grocery store in Greensboro, said the store employees have already been taking measures to clean.

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Bestway has adjusted it's store hours to allow for more cleaning time. 

Kimbrough said the idea to limit the number of people in stores is a good one. "Our number is 18. I don't really see that as an issue at all," said Kimbrough. That number includes both store employees and customers.

Kimbrough said she doesn't anticipate that to affect the store in a negative way or be an inconvenience to customers. "I think they want to shop in the safest way possible," she said. 

The executive order also encourages making hand sanitizer stations readily available at doors, face coverings for workers, and barriers at checkouts. It also recommends establishing designated shopping times for high-risk groups. 

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Kimbrough said she has already ordered face shields for her employees and they're wearing gloves that they're required to change often. She said Bestway has also installed checkout shields between customers and cashiers. 

"This should make shopping safer for customers and retail employees and help prevent stores from becoming flashpoints for virus transmission," said Gov. Cooper Friday afternoon. 

The executive order goes into effect Monday, April 13, at 5 p.m. 

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