Wake County is ending its stay-at-home order. Here’s what does (and doesn’t) change.

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This article was originally posted by the News & Obvserver on their website, here.

Wake County will let its stay-at-home order end Thursday, easing restrictions for residents starting Friday.

The county’s more than 1 million people will now follow North Carolina’s stay-at-home order, which allows gatherings up to 10 people and funerals of up to 50 people instead of 25.

The city of Raleigh and the county’s towns, except for Apex, have all agreed to let the local rules expire and follow the state’s rules. Apex will be releasing its own proclamation.

Gov. Roy Cooper last week extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8 and outlined a plan to gradually reopen the state.

People must still stay at home except for essential travel like grocery shopping and exercising outdoors as long as social distancing is in place. Hair salons, gyms and movie theaters remain closed, but other business that maintain social distancing can stay open.

Wake County, which issued its stay-at-home order before the state, updated its order April 15 and classified all businesses the state deemed essential to also be essential in Wake County. That meant bookstores, clothing shops and other retailers could choose to reopen in Wake County.

“We are all on the same page, and I think what the county is recommending is where we need to be and is reasonable,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “We are being very cautious and we don’t want to relax things too soon because we have been successful in what we are doing.”

She’d originally said she’d like to see the local ordinance extended at least until May 8 to match the length of the state’s order. But some towns didn’t want to extend the local order which would have created a patchwork of regulations in Wake County.

“I think if we are consistent that is a better place to be,” she said.

When counties have the same order as the state, it is easier for businesses as they try to reopen and operate during the pandemic, said Andy Ellen, president of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association.

Businesses will only have to deal with one set of regulations instead of trying to overlay a local ordinance on top of a state order, he said.

Both Orange and Durham counties have decided to extend their stay at home orders, to May 8 and May 15 respectively.