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'We have to do this carefully' | Governor Cooper talks reopening plans, 'cushioning the blow' to the economy

In a virtual one-on-one interview, Governor Roy Cooper discussed how his team is tackling reopening plans while considering coronavirus trends.
Credit: WFMY News 2

On Day 5 of Phase 1 of North Carolina's reopening plan, Governor Cooper spoke with WFMY News 2 in a one-on-one interview, as he and his team consider whether the state will enter Phase 2 in a week or so. 

He said all plans in the short and long term will focus on moving forward with care - and not haste. 

"As we carefully move through these phases we're going to work hard to reignite our economy and get people as close to normal as we possibly can," the Governor said Wednesday, "I know that we as a state have done better than a lot of other states at flattening the curve and that is due to the hard work of North Carolinians for sure."

He says it's too soon to determine whether North Carolina will enter Phase 2 on May 22, although as it stands right now, indicators are moving in the right direction. 

"So far, you're seeing a steadying of hospitalizations, you are seeing an increase in the number of cases - but you are seeing a decrease in the percentage of positive cases," Governor Cooper said.

While considering the immediate future, the Governor said they are also looking even further ahead, especially when it comes to schools in the fall, and the pandemic's lasting effects on our economy. 

"People want to know about sports and concerts, and you know, we want very much to cushion the blow to our economy that this pandemic has caused," the Governor said, "We also know that a strong economy and public health go hand-in-hand."

The Governor stands by the phased plan, arguing that paired with the updated numbers, it will give North Carolinians a sense of confidence in their safety.

"Even if we eliminated all of those restrictions, you wouldn't have a lot of people re-engaging in the economy because they wouldn't think that we had carefully thought about this, and they wouldn't think that we had their safety at the forefront," he said. 

Governor Cooper says as we continue this staggered reopening, it will still be important to keep social distancing, to wear a face covering, and to wash your hands frequently.

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