From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell


Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC- Phase One of North Carolina's reopening plans has begun and will be in place until May 22, 2020.This first phase of the reopening plan does not lift the Stay at Home Order, but allows the number of reasons people are allowed to leave their homes. The following will give some information regarding Phase 1.

In this phase:


•The essential and non-essential distinction is eliminated;

•Retail businesses can open at 50% capacity;

•Allows people to leave home for non-essential goods and services;

•State parks and trails currently closed can open;

•Allows people to gather outdoors by utilizing social distancing with up to ten people;

•Opens child care to working families;

•Strongly encourages North Carolinians to wear cloth face coverings when outside the home in order to protect themselves and others.


•Work or seeking employment at businesses not closed by Executive Order;

•Taking care of health or safety needs;

•Receiving goods, services, or supplies and medication;

•Engaging in outdoor activities, including to walk, hike, run, golf, hunt, fish, or bike outdoors;

•Taking care of others, including assisting a family member, friend, pet, attending funerals or a wedding;

•Worship or exercise First Amendment rights, outdoors and following recommendation to promote social distancing and reduce transmission;

•Travel between places of residence;

•Volunteer with organizations that provide charitable and social services;

•Gather at other people's homes with no more than ten people outdoors while following recommendations to promote social distancing and reduce transmission requirements; and

•Provide or receive government services.

This new phase is implemented with flattening the curve and safety in mind. I encourage all North Carolinians to be mindful when leaving your homes and allowing others into your homes. Some businesses have still been asked to remain closed:

•Barbers/Salons/Massage shops;

•Theaters, Music Venues, Bowling Alleys;

•Gyms and Playgrounds

•Visiting hospitals and long-term care centers are still prohibited.

Unemployment Concerns

Many constituents continue to be concerned about employment issues and it is important that we understand some of these issues as they are coming forth including that on Friday:

•Unemployment numbers were released for April, 2020. North Carolina has seen 1.1 million unemployment claims since the pandemic began.

•DES is handling 50,000 claims per week. Previous call volume was 3,000 claims per week.

•DES has handled 18,000 claims on the phone, and one million claims online.

•DES is training thousands of new workers to handle the increase.

•Oldest claims will be handled first, and benefits will be retroactive.

"I have been diligently working on behalf of North Carolinians with my fellow legislators. This is a time for us to come together and assist each other as much as possible.

Being healthy and staying safe is the ultimate goal. Please continue to wash your hands frequently, wear protective masks, and continue to engage in social distancing. These are the actions that will help us stop the spread of this virus," said Senator Joyce Waddell.

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