Stay at Home

As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Gov. Cooper announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.

“The key indicators are moving in the right direction. Our Orange County community has been successfully flattening the curve by wearing face masks, washing their hands and waiting six feet apart,” said Orange County Health Director, Quintana Stewart. “Thank you for your hard work, but please continue to practice the three W’s when you are not with household members.”

“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Governor Cooper. “We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”

Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors with new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors. 

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space. 

 30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)

  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields
  • Venues

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats are exempt from the 250-person limit if they follow additional safety measures. They can open at 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit 

  • Restaurants 
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said. 

Related Links

  1. Key Points
  2. Easing of Restrictions
  3. Business Guidance
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. NC Order Documents

Goals

The state stay at home order is intended to slow transmission of the virus, prevent overwhelming local hospitals and keep first responders safe.

Face Coverings in Public

The state’s executive order 147 requires (with few exceptions) that people wear a cloth face covering on the nose and mouth when they leave home and may be within six feet of other people who are not household and family members. This would include indoor community, public, and business settings. These coverings function to protect other people more than the wearer. Face coverings should also be worn outdoors when you cannot stay at least six feet away from other people. 

Some populations experience increased anxiety and fear of bias and being profiled if wearing face coverings in public spaces, but everyone should adhere to this guidance without fear of profiling or bias. If someone is the target of ethnic or racial intimidation as the result of adhering to the protective nose and mouth covering guidance or as a result of the pandemic, they are encouraged to report the matter to local law enforcement agencies. 

Mass Gatherings

The Executive Order 176 limits 10 people for mass gatherings indoors but exempts worship services, spiritual gatherings, weddings and funerals. The limit on mass gatherings is expanded to 50 for outdoor gatherings. Physical distancing requirements remain in place.

Declarations