Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order directing all individuals in North Carolina to stay at home as a protective measure against the spread of the coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19. The order goes into effect Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. and will last 30 days.

“It is what we have to do to save lives. It has the force of law,” Cooper said in a press conference on March 27.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as of March 27, there are 763 cases of the coronavirus in North Carolina, five of them in Alamance County. There are three coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

“This order directs you to stay home unless you need to leave for essentials such as your job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help others,” Cooper said.

Executive Order No. 121 orders all individuals in the state to stay at home, only allowing them to leave their homes for essential activities. 

Essential activities include: activities to maintain health and safety, to obtain supplies and services such as groceries, outdoor activities, certain types of work, to take care of others, attend a place of worship, receive goods and services and volunteering.

If people leave their homes for essential activities, they must be six feet apart from others, excluding family members.

In-person classes at Elon University were set to resume on April 20, but the stay at home order would still be in effect on that date.

According to an email from Jon Dooley, vice president for student life, the university has been working on “contingency plans” and will have an update via email on March 30 at 2 p.m. Dooley previously said that a final decision on resuming in-person classes and whether commencement would be on May 22 would be made on April 6.

Gov. Cooper said violation of this executive order is a class two misdemeanor being enforced by state and local law enforcement. While he hopes people will abide by this order, Cooper is relying on the help of law enforcement.

“What we want law enforcement to do is encourage people to abide by this order,” Cooper said.