To decrease the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered North Carolina residents to stay at home starting Monday at 5 p.m. That order came with a long list of activities people can no longer do as well as some exceptions to the rule.

Cooper asked residents to limit their interactions with others and stay at home as much as possible even with the exceptions in place. He also asked businesses still operating to keep as many of their employees working at home as possible.

What does this mean for you? Here’s a look at some of the things allowed under the order:

Essential activitiesThe order states travel is prohibited except for “essential activities” defined in the order.

People can leave their homes to complete tasks impacting their health including obtaining medication, seeking emergency services, visiting a medical professional or veterinarian. They can also retrieve necessary supplies like food, sanitation supplies and equipment for vehicles.

People can also attend places of worship, volunteer with an organization providing “charitable and social services,” outdoor activity, receive goods and services from businesses that can remain open, visit children living in multiple residences and take care of others while the order is in effect.

Essential businesses

Employees of an “essential businesses or operation” can leave their home for work as well though these businesses should allow their employees to work from home as much as possible.

Examples of essential businesses and organizations are grocery stores and pharmacies, food banks, media outlets, gas stations, banks, hardware stores, construction, post offices, take-out restaurant services, laundromats, offices supply stores, senior care facilities, hotels and funeral homes.

All open businesses should try to practice social distancing, which includes staying at least six feet from others, regularly washing hands for at least 20 seconds, regularly cleaning surfaces and encouraging remote business.

Owners of businesses not identified as essential can request consideration from the N.C. Department of Revenue.

Otherwise, nonessential businesses should stop activities other than as needed to maintain an inventory’s value, maintaining the space and equipment, providing security, making telework possible and processing payroll and employee benefits.

Crossroads Cycling Co. is considered an essential business because it provides a means of exercise, and it is staying open.

Owner David Carleton said he made changes to meet social distancing guidelines. Business hours were cut and the front door is locked. Any customer knocks on the door, and an employee will answer it. The shop will only allow one customer per employee into the shop.

When a customer is allowed in, they are handed a disinfectant wipe. Test rides are not allowed, and repairs have to be brought to the back of the shop, so the bike can be disinfected first.

Carleton said he was trying to keep his employees and customers as safe as possible.

Mass gatherings

Outside of public transportation, medical facilities, libraries and malls or shopping centers, groups of more than 10 are prohibited. Essential businesses are also excluded from this order.

Funerals can have up to 50 attendees while still following social distancing requirements.

Any violation of the restrictions in the stay at home order could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense.

Because they provide educational material and internet access students need to participate in online assignments, public libraries are offering limited services. Iredell County Public Library Director Juli Moore said students in grades 6-12 in Iredell-Statesville Schools and Mooresville Graded School District can make an appointment at the Statesville, Troutman or Harmony library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students can the library's internet and computers.

Other patrons can request materials online or via phone and pick up those materials from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Moore said library staff are available throughout the work week to make appointments for students, place items on hold and offer assistance with online services.

Consequences

Part of Cooper’s order says that while participation is mandatory, he’s seeking voluntary cooperation from residents and businesses. Law enforcement agencies do have the ability to issue a misdemeanor citation for not complying with the order.

Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell said he’s operating with a base level of trust that when people are in public they’re following the governor’s orders.

“First, we will not be stopping cars or boats to check your travel papers, nor will we set up checkpoints to inquire about your travel plans,” he wrote in a Facebook post Monday. “We believe the residents of Iredell County are responsible and will be moving about for the purposes of taking care of your essential needs.”

Campbell said that deputies are going about patrols as usual and there aren’t plans to have an increased law enforcement presence at essential businesses.

He said the sheriff’s office has also been fielding questions wondering if people can go out on Lake Norman and visit family. He says the biggest thing is to practice social distancing and use common sense.

”It’s very vague,” Campbell said of Cooper’s mandate. “But so far, people have been compliant.”

He also advised citizens to review the state’s guidelines and err on the side of caution.

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