RALEIGH – More than a year after elected officials and health department bureaucrats abused emergency powers to shutdown businesses, livelihoods, schools, and citizens’ movements, Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that he plans to lift most COVID-related restrictions by June 1, as long as virus metrics ‘remain stable’ and people continue getting vaccinated.
“With at least two-thirds of adults vaccinated, our public health experts believe we’ll have enough protection across our communities to live more safely with this virus and to begin to put the pandemic behind us,” Cooper said at a press conference. He added, “With increasing vaccinations and ongoing work to slow the spread, I anticipate we’ll be able to lift all mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1.”
What is not being said here, after the last year of lockdown and the seemingly inevitable ebbs and flows of COVID contagion, is that the restrictions officials like Cooper placed on individuals, organizations, and businesses didn’t actually do anything, except possibly prolong the misery of dealing with the fear factor.
Yet now that the virus has followed roughly the same trajectory it would have without restrictions, the pressure to remove economy strangling restrictions is reaching a critical threshold. High vaccination rates now give Cooper cover to lift restrictions on capacity and gatherings, but one of the most controversial measures will stay.
Fittingly, the most useless and ineffective of these restrictions, the statewide mask mandate, will remain in place beyond the June 1 deadline.
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Author: Jeff Moore
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