GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a new executive order banning mass gathering of 50 people or more.
He also issued for some businesses, including hair salons, barbershops, nail shops, gyms, spas and movie theaters to close by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The new restrictions are an attempt to thwart the spread of the new coronavirus, Covid19. State health officials have counted more than 500 cases of infection in NC so far.
Here's a list of what businesses will close by the deadline:
- Bingo Parlors, including Bingo sites operated by charitable organizations
- Bowling Alleys
- Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)
- Health Clubs
- Indoor Pools
- Live Performance Venues
- Movie Theaters
- Skating Rinks
- Spas/Massage spas
- Sweepstakes Lounges
- Video game arcades
- Barber Shops
- Beauty Salons (including waxing and hair removal centers)
- Hair Salons
- Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
- Tattoo Parlors
The order makes assemblies of more than 50 people a misdemeanor. This means the prohibition on gatherings of more than 100 people ends on Wednesday.
Signs posted on the doors of many health and beauty businesses across several shopping centers read 'Closed Till Further Notice.' Many customers rushed to book last-minute seats at the few that remained open.
"It's shocking, it's unbelievable, I never thought I would live in a time to experiences something like this," said Shaquita Mills of Greensboro who had been to several nails shops to get service but found several already closed.
"Someone told us to try here at one of the suites. We went in there and they're fully booked for today and tomorrow," she said as she was leaving Phenix Salon Suites on Wendover Avenue.
The Greensboro location houses about 30 beauty-related small businesses with more than twice the amount of licensed cosmetologists and beauticians who work independently.
"It's another barrier that I have to cross being a business owner and trying to build my brand. I feel like this is something kind of devastating what is going and it too will affect my family," said Rakeshia Melton, a hairstylist.
Melton who owns Cherry Creations Hair Salon, one of the businesses inside Phenix Salon Suites planned to work late into the night Tuesday. She said she has booked appointments as early as 4 am Wednesday to get a head start before the 5 pm deadline.
"Today I could probably make at least maybe $1000 or more but that's not going to carry me for the rest of the month, being that I have to pay rent," she added.
"It's tough, honestly it's tough, because what do you do," said Nicole Alford who runs the renting and leasing operation for Phenix Salon Suite location in North Carolina including Greensboro, Charlotte, and Fayetteville. With a combined 100 associated small businesses, each with up 2 or 3 licensed beauticians working out of one space, the shutdown order affects nearly 300 people linked to the business, according to Alford.
"You can't pay your rent, you can't make money to feed your family. It's just crazy so everybody's just going crazy right now," added Alford. Some businesses have already terminated their agreement so they are not saddled with paying the rent for next month due to the uncertainty about revenue. The management is provided some reprieve while also weighing its options.
"We still have to pay the bills here as well as trying to figure out what we can do to make things easier for the tenant that are over there in the building, "
"What we've done so far is to give our tenants two weeks free and then after the two weeks we'll just try to figure out what we could do moving forward to make things comfortable for everyone because we are all affected, not just the tenants but the business owners as well," added Alford.
The business owners are hoping a bailout from the government will help mitigate their losses. In the meantime, stylists advise folks to D-I-Y, get a longer keeping protective hairstyle or manage with how your hair naturally grows.
"Stay prayed up, that there's a cure a lot sooner than later and as far as maintenance with your hair make sure you're washing and deep conditioning it in the midst of not being able to see your stylist," said Melton.
Schools also ordered to stay closed
Cooper also ordered public schools must remain shuttered to in-class learning and continue distance-online learning for several more weeks. Public schools statewide also will stay closed through May 15.
On Tuesday, March 17th, Governor Roy Cooper issued an initial executive order to close all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers in North Carolina in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Businesses can still do take-out pick-up and delivery operations, but dining rooms will remain closed to customers.
"North Carolina must keep fighting this pandemic with the right weapons," said Cooper.
Cooper's order also expanded unemployment benefits to help employees struggling because of the virus.
The state's department of employment security said it has been inundated with more than 120,000 claims so far via phone in to call centers or through their website.
The agency said it is fully staffed and plans to add an additional 50 people to help with taking calls and processing claims.
FACTS NOT FEAR
Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.
WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.
NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE
The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 2-1-1 or 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.
You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.