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'We're cautiously optimistic' Business owners are excited to welcome more customers in

Governor Roy Cooper's new executive order goes into effect 5 p.m. Friday.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper's new executive order that eases more COVID-related restrictions in North Carolina is in effect as of Friday at 5 p.m. 

Executive Order 204 expires on April 30. The mask mandate and social distancing guidelines will remain in place.

Here’s what will change:

  • Some places will be able to increase capacity up to 100% indoors and outdoors with safety protocols in place. They include museums, aquariums, retail businesses and shops, salons and personal care shops.
  • The new order will allow some places to increase capacity up to 75% indoors and up to 100% outdoors. They include restaurants, breweries, wineries, amusement parks, gyms and pools, and other recreation establishments.
  • Additionally, the new order will allow some places to increase capacity up to 50% indoors and outdoors. That includes bars, conference centers and reception venues, sports arenas, and other venues for live performances.
  • Facilities at 50% capacity also include tobacco lounges, nightclubs, auditoriums, and gaming facilities.
  • Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at up to 75% capacity outdoors.
  • In addition, effective Friday, Cooper will lift the 11 p.m. curfew for on-site alcohol consumption.
  • The mass gathering limit, which covers other kinds of gatherings not otherwise laid out in the order, will be increased to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

Cooper said the easing of restrictions comes as North Carolina's COVID-19 data continues to trend in a better direction.

WFMY News 2's Jess Winters talked to some downtown Greensboro business owners who are excited. 

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"There's a sense of cautious optimism," Gina Hicks said. She owns Vivid Interiors. "We're really excited, it does seem like things are starting to become more normal."

She's a part of the group that allows 100% capacity. 

"We did take off Saturday's through this, it didn't seem to make sense but we're going to revisit opening the shop for Saturdays now."

Boho Salon owner Kenny Kallum said this is a win for all of downtown.

The past year was really tough because of the fact they closed salons for 3 months, I've never been without work for three months," Kallum stated. "Going 100% capacity for us has just opened the door a little more to be able to take on a few more clients."

RELATED: Gov. Cooper announces more lifted COVID-19 restrictions for NC

He said he's particularly happy for surrounding businesses that will bring more foot traffic.

"For me the restrictions are better for my cohorts downtown so I'm really happy that the bars and restaurants are getting a little more time and space because walking traffic is time for me to go 'hi,' shake hands, and try to bring more people through the door."