COVID-19

New Cooper executive order: No power, water cutoffs for utility providers for 60 days

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Gov. Roy Cooper announced an executive order Tuesday afternoon prohibiting utility companies from cutting off services for the next 60 days.

The order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services, and Cooper said at a press briefing that phone, cable and internet companies are "strongly urged to follow these same rules." The action is the latest the North Carolina government has taken since the beginning of the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

"These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we stay at home," Cooper said. "This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet."

The action came as the state of North Carolina reached 300,000 people who have filed unemployment since March 16, according to a report from WRAL. As of late last week, the total number of people unemployed among that number from Chatham was not available.

Additionally, Cooper said, the order "encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties." The rule is in effect for 60 days, and the governor said the state will "re-evaluate where we are in the arc of the pandemic to determine if protections are needed longer."

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