All North Carolina public schools will be closed through May 15, rather than the end of March as originally mandated.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday an executive order to close schools through that time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Cooper said he does not want to close schools through the end of the year yet, but will continue to watch for recommendations from public health officials.
“I’m not ready to give up on this year of school however we know the effects of this year’s pandemic will not subside soon,” Cooper said.
The executive order also closes gyms, movie theaters, sweepstakes parlors and health clubs. It also closes hair and nail salons and massage therapists, among other businesses, Cooper said.
Those businesses are required to close by Wednesday at 5 p.m.
“I know that these actions cause hardship and heartache for a lot of people, but they save lives,” Cooper said.
Grocery stores are still able to be open and restaurants are able to sell takeout and delivery food.
The order also bans gatherings of over 50 people, down from 100.