Governor Roy Cooper Signs Covid-19 Relief Bills; Hopes For Phase One Reopening By This Weekend

Governor Roy Cooper And North Carolina Officials Provide Covid-19 Update

RALEIGH, N.C. — On Monday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed two Covid-19 relief bills, which the General Assembly passed over the weekend.  The bills will provide more than $1.5 billion in relief to North Carolina small businesses, schools, local governments and continued Covid-19 research.

“I am signing into law two critical relief bills that will provide assistance to families, schools, hospitals and small businesses as our state battles COVID-19,” said Governor Cooper. “There is more work ahead of us, and I hope the spirit of consensus behind these bills will continue.”

The Governor was joined by House Speaker Tim Moore, Democratic House Leader Darren Jackson, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue.

“The General Assembly crafted a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that puts North Carolina on the right path to recovery. Governor Cooper’s signature on these bills sends a signal to our citizens that our state is moving past this crisis and that action is being taken to address their concerns,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

“I am proud of the work that we have done in the Senate to address the pressing needs in our state,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue. “I look forward to working with Senator Berger on the next COVID-19 relief package so that we can build a stronger, more resilient for all North Carolinians.”

“North Carolina is leading the nation’s recovery through bipartisan consensus for swift action to assist every community in our state affected by this pandemic. I appreciate the successful collaboration among our legislative colleagues and the Governor to provide this powerful support for North Carolinians.” said Speaker of the House Tim Moore

“Citizens expect bipartisan progress and we are off to a good start. Now we need to do more for front-line workers, the unemployed, and people without health insurance.” said House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson.

HB 1043, the spending package, allocates federal funding sent to the state from the CARES Act. It includes:

  • $50 million to provide personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies
  • $25 million to support enhanced COVID-19 testing and tracing
  • $125 million in small business loans administered through the Golden LEAF Foundation
  • $50 million in health support for underserved communities including rural areas and minority communities
  • $95 million to support North Carolina hospitals
  • $20 million to support local health departments and the State Health Lab
  • $75 million for school nutrition programs
  • $70 million for summer learning programs
  • $30 million for local schools to purchase computers and other devices for students
  • $6 million for food banks
  • $9 million for rural broadband
  • $85 million for vaccine development, antibody testing, community testing, and other COVID-19-related research at Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Campbell University, and Wake Forest University.

The bills also include key policy changes to support North Carolinians as the state battles COVID-19.

Senate Bill 704 contained provisions to help North Carolinians. It includes:

  • An extension of driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines
  • Waived interest on tax payments normally due in April
  • Modifies end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools
  • Adjusts the 2020-21 K-12 public school calendar
  • Allows pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed

Governor Cooper says he plans to announce the specifics of North Carolina’s phase one reopening plan on tomorrow, but by no later than Wednesday.  Governor Cooper added that he his hopeful North Carolina can enter phase one this weekend.  Phase one would allow for some non-essential shopping.

The statewide stay at home order expires on Friday, May 8th.

Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said officials would encourage people to do activities that avoid sitting or standing within six feet of other people for more than 10 minutes.