RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) Governor Roy Cooper has signed an executive order requiring new social distancing policies at open stores.

Effective April 13 at 5 p.m., stores may not have a number of people inside at one time that is more than 20% of the stated fire capacity or either five people for every 1,000 square feet.

Stores must also mark 6 feet of distance at places where people need to gather, like checkout lines, and they must perform frequent environmental cleaning and routine disinfection.

The order also encourages stores to make hand sanitizer accessible, set shopping times for seniors and at-risk people, use shields at check out, and mark aisles as 1-way to limit traffic.

The Order states these requirements will last for 30 days unless extended by further executive action.

The executive order also includes mandatory protective measures for nursing homes that had previously been recommended as guidance.

It prevents dining and group activities in common spaces.

It requires face masks for employees.

It also requires these nursing homes to screen employees and residents for symptoms of sickness.

The Order states these requirements will last until this order is repealed.

Governor Cooper is also requiring additional measures that will get more unemployment claims processed faster.

The order makes it easier for employers to file a batch of claims on behalf of their employees.

This is known as an attached claim.

By temporarily eliminating some hurdles for employers, officials hope to get benefits in the hands of those who need them faster.

Since March 16, the Division of Employment Security has accepted over 497k unemployment claims.

North Carolina has sent $40.3M with more going out every day.

The Department has also received updated guidance from the federal government on how to disburse the supplemental $600 a week benefit.

Those payments are expected to begin by the end of next week.

The Order will extend 60 days beyond the date the state of emergency is lifted to allow employers to get back on their feet.

Additionally, the Department of Employment Services issued information on the timing of federal benefits reaching North Carolinians. 

“North Carolina continues to take strong action to slow the spread of COVID-19, and today’s Order will help make stores safer, protect those living and working in nursing homes, and get more unemployment benefits out quicker. Our state is resilient, and we will get through this crisis together if we all do our part,” said Governor Cooper. 

Read the full Order.