Facing a growing chorus of complaints from business owners and stir-crazy North Carolina families, Governor Roy Cooper is expected Thursday to unveil his plan to begin easing the stay-at-home restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In an interview on ABC 11, the state's health director, Dr. Betsey Tilson said the governor's reopen plan would be guided by the data.
"The governor is always saying we want to be looking at our trends: our cases, our hospitalizations, our deaths -- looking at all our trends to let us know when we think it may be safe to be able to start reopening the economy. Nobody more than governor wants to reopen the economy," Tilson said.
It's not just ReOpen NC demonstrators pressuring the governor. The top Republican in the state senate, Phil Berger sent a letter to Cooper, signed by every member of the GOP leadership, demanding answers on what the governor's reopen plan is; when the plan would be released; and seeking more detailed statistics on the infection and death rates.
And Republican State House Rep. Jake Johnson from western North Carolina penned a separate letter to Cooper expressing his support for "returning decision-making authority back to the counties once the current stay-at-home order expires at the end of April."
At Wednesday's state briefing, the governor's Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said a regional reopening of the state's economy may be reasonable -- but not a county by county strategy.
"I think making decisions at the county level is incredibly challenging given how people move through the county. The virus certainly doesn't respect county borders," Cohen said.
To illustrate her point about the potential for spread if every county had the power to decide on its own when to reopen, Dr. Cohen pointed to data showing the workforce that comes in and out of Charlotte every day travels from 32 different counties. It's one more factor that will inform Governor Cooper's reopen plan that he's expected to roll out Thursday at 3 pm.
Here's more from our news partner WTVD ABC11: