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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper orders gym patrons to wear masks amid COVID-19

Starting this week, gym rats will be required to wear masks while working out in North Carolina, as part of tightened COVID-19 restrictions rolled out by Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Cooper issued new safety measures Monday, which go into effect Wednesday through Dec. 11, as the state battles a spike in cases.

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Cooper said at a press conference, WYFF 4 reported. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

Cooper’s Executive Order No. 180 requires masks in any public indoor space, regardless of social distancing, at gyms even while exercising, in all public and private schools and on all public and private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household.

It also mandates that businesses larger than 15,000 square feet must have an employee stationed at the entrances to ensure proper mask wearing and follow occupancy limits.

The pandemic in North Carolina hit a record 4,514 cases on Sunday, and though they dropped to 2,419 the next day, the rolling, seven-day average has been 3,570 a day over the last week, according to WRAL.

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Hospitalizations also hit a record on Monday, with 1,601 being treated statewide. More than 5,000 North Carolina residents have died.

The positive rate, however, has been trending downward since spiking at 9.4 percent on Nov. 16. On Saturday, that number was at 6.6 percent.

Other states are also beefing up restrictions — including Pennsylvania, which just announced alcohol sales would be banned the day before Thanksgiving, and New Jersey, which closed indoor dining after 10 p.m.

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