Governor Cooper on Saturday issued an executive order that would bar gatherings of more than 100 people across the state. He also ordered K-12 public schools to close, effective Monday, March 16, for two weeks. 

“We know that it will be difficult on many parents and students,” Cooper said. “Our lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. But we’re going to get through this.”

The governor also formed working groups with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to ensure the state has smart solutions for child care during the two week period.

Cooper explained the decision to close schools in order to assess the threat the virus poses so the state can have the most effective and coordinated response.

“Hindsight is 2020,” Cooper said. “I don’t want any regrets in our rear-view mirror when this pandemic subsides.”

Many large events such as concerts and other performances have opted to cancel or postpone in light of the pandemic. But Cooper’s executive order will take his previous suggestions to limit mass gatherings and make it mandatory.

“This is a risk we cannot tolerate. No concert is worth the spread of this pandemic,” Cooper said.

You can view the full press conference here, and read updates about COVID-19 in North Carolina from the NCDHHS website here.