Executive order stops restaurant dine-in services, loosens unemployment requirements

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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Food service at restaurants will be limited to curbside and takeout services effective at 5 p.m. today, according to N.C. Governor Roy Cooper. The Governor announced the restrictions, along with loosened guidelines for North Carolinians seeking unemployment during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“I recognize this decision will cost people their jobs, so this order also brings them some relief,” Cooper said. “Today I am taking down some of the barriers to unemployment benefits in response to this unprecedented health crisis.”

In addition to closing restaurant dining rooms, the executive order does five important things in terms of unemployment benefits:

  • Removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits for those workers who lose their jobs
  • Removes the requirement that a person must look for another job during this time when so many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect.
  • Allows employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to COVID-19 issues, to apply for unemployment benefits
  • Waives the requirement that part of the application process be in person
  • Directs that these unemployment losses won’t be counted against employers

“These changes are designed to lessen the hit to our economy and workers’ wallets,” Cooper said. “We know people want to work, and businesses want to stay open. The reality is that many can’t. We believe there will be additional help for workers and businesses from the federal government, and I urge Congress and the President to act.”