Source: News and Observer

Governor Cooper has voiced concern about neighboring states in the South reopening too early in the past week. In an appearance on The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN, Cooper said that, “The virus doesn’t respect state lines.” 

He added that North Carolina took “early, strong action and I’m proud of the people of North Carolina that they have flattened the curve.” Cooper warned against moving too quickly to reopen the state, saying, “We’re not going to risk the health of our people or our hospital system by opening too early… We’re going to use science and data and facts to make the decision on when we begin opening gradually.” 

When asked by Tapper whether Georgia’s quick easing of restrictions worried him, Cooper said that, “We’re very concerned about it.” The western part of North Carolina is close to Georgia, and because the virus can move freely between state borders, Georgia’s opening risks spreading the virus into the Tar Heel state. 

South Carolina has opted for a slower easing of restrictions, but even South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham voiced concern about how quickly Georgia was opening its economy. “I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon,” Graham tweeted. President Trump made similar comments earlier in April, saying, “I think it’s too soon.” Governor Cooper voiced similar concerns in his press conference, saying, “We would hope that they would take a second look at this.”

Governor Cooper stressed in a press conference extending the stay-at-home order that the decisions made are data-driven. “Right now, the decision to stay at home is based on the public health data and White House guidance. North Carolina needs more time to slow the spread of the virus before we can safely begin lifting restrictions.”

Time and again, he emphasized the health of North Carolinians as his primary motivator. He outlined a three-phase process for opening North Carolina in a safe way at the press conference.

See more about Governor Cooper’s plan to reopen North Carolina in his interview with Jake Tapper.