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Governor signs executive orders that extend pandemic-related assistance

Governor signs executive orders that extend pandemic-related assistance

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Gov. Roy Cooper signed Tuesday three COVID-19 pandemic-related executive orders that extend benefits related to housing, unemployment benefits and mixed beverages.

Executive Order No. 205 allows the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to continue to authorize through April 30 the delivery and carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption.

The order covers restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars and some distilleries.

Executive Order No. 206 extends a statewide residential eviction moratorium through June 30.

Cooper said the extension is in response to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s action on the nationwide moratorium through the same date.

Executive Order 207 continues the authorization of an expedited processing of unemployment insurance claims through June 30.

President Joe Biden laid out hopeful new steps Monday to expand coronavirus vaccinations but also echoed the stern warnings of a top public health official who told Americans she has a recurring feeling of impending doom that a fourth wave of the virus may be coming.

“Even though North Carolina is turning the corner on this pandemic, many are still struggling,” Cooper said in a statement. “These executive orders will help families stay in their homes and help hard-hit businesses increase their revenue.”

The eviction moratorium is designed to assist tenants who meet certain criteria to help prevent community spread of COVID-19.

The statement from the governor’s office said that “with many people struggling financially due to this pandemic, the state’s eviction moratorium halts evictions for nonpayment of rent and sets forth certain procedures for landlords and their tenants who may qualify for protection from eviction.”

Federal Emergency Rental Assistance was approved by Congress, with North Carolina receiving more than $700 million to continue providing relief to renters and landlords. The Cooper administration is working with the General Assembly and local governments to launch the updated version of rental assistance.

The statement said Cooper asked for and received concurrence from the Council of State on Executive Orders 205 and 206. Those two orders required the concurrence, according to the statement.

The council is made up of 10 statewide elected officials: governor, lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, auditor, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction and treasurer.

The council has had a 6-4 Republican margin throughout Cooper’s terms in office.

All six GOP council members have expressed their desire to fully reopen the state’s businesses sooner than Cooper and state Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen have wanted from a public-health perspective.

Republican legislative leaders began criticizing what they considered as the sweeping nature of Cooper’s pandemic executive orders shortly after they began to be issued.

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@rcraverWSJ

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