COVID-19 | NC Executive Orders

COVID-19 | North Carolina Executive Orders

Updated December 9, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina issued a new executive order on December 8, 2020 that extends most Phase 3 measures and implements a modified stay at home and early closure order.

Key provisions of each Executive Order are listed below.

Timeline of North Carolina’s path of easing restrictions:

  • December 11 – Modified stay at home and early closure order begins, effective through January 4, 2021.
  • November 10 – Phase 3 extended through December 4, and limit on mass gatherings indoors reduced from 25 to 10 persons.
  • October 21 – Phase 3 extended through November 13.
  • October 2 – Phase 3 begins, effective through October 23.
  • September 4 – Phase 2.5 begins, effective through October 2.
  • August 5 – Phase 2 extended through September 11.
  • June 24 – Phase 2 extended through July 17, and additional health and safety modifications are implemented, including requiring face coverings to be worn in most public settings and prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption after 11 p.m.
  • May 22 – Phase 2 begins, effective through June 26.
  • May 8 – Phase 1 of loosening statewide restrictions begins, effective through May 22.
  • April 23 – Stay-at-home restrictions extended through May 8, and path to easing of state restrictions announced.
  • March 30 – 30-day stay-at-home order begins.
  • March 10 – State of Emergency declared.

For more information about the Governor’s path to easing restrictions, click here.

Numerous local governments have begun issuing their own local orders in response to COVID-19. For more information regarding local orders in North Carolina, click here.

Additionally, the Governor has issued several other executive orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all outlined below. (Note: Non-coronavirus orders intentionally omitted)

Executive Order #181 | Modified Stay at Home, Early Closure Order (Order Text)

  • Issued December 8, 2020
  • The Order goes into effect at 5 p.m., Friday December 11 and runs through 5 p.m., Friday January 8, 2021.
  • Key provisions of the Order include:
    • A stay-at-home order will be in effect between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.
      • All individuals must stay home during these hours except for work, travel for work, to obtain essential goods and services, or for other limited exceptions.
      • Businesses in the following industries must close to the public during this time period, but may remain open for employees and other workers to conduct business operations.
        • Amusement parks.
        • Bars, night spots, and arenas (except with respect to collegiate or professional sports).
        • Fitness facilities.
        • Movie theaters, meeting spaces, and entertainment facilities.
        • Museums and aquariums.
        • Parks.
        • Personal care, grooming, and tattoo businesses.
        • Pools.
        • Restaurants with respect to on-premises consumption of food and beverages.  They may remain open for take-out or delivery during these hours.
        • Retail businesses other than those that sell groceries, medication, fuel, or healthcare supplies.
    • Police may enforce the stay-at-home requirement against individuals, but only for willful or repeated violations.
    • Most events must be ended or paused by 10 p.m.
    • The provision does not apply to:
        • Travel to, or attending, a religious service or other activity exempted under Subsection 1.2 of this Executive Order.
        • Collegiate and professional sporting events.
        • The media.
        • Law enforcement, fire, paramedics, and all other first responders and emergency responders.
        • The United States government, State government, and local governments.
        • Individuals experiencing homelessness.
    • Alcohol sales for on-site consumption or for catering must end by 9 p.m. daily.
    • Most provisions of the Phase 3 restrictions continue, but there are some clarifications.
      • Face coverings:
        • The face covering requirement for people who are exercising has been changed to allow additional exceptions for:
          • People who have symptoms while strenuously exercising such as trouble breathing, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
          • People who are wearing equipment like a mouthguard or helmet and are having trouble breathing.
          • People who are doing any activity in which the Face Covering could become entangled and a choking hazard or impair vision in high risk activities such as gymnastics, cheerleading, or tumbling.
          • People who are doing activities that may cause the Face Covering to become wet, like when swimming or other activities in a pool, lake, water attraction, or similar body of water.
        • The Order clarifies that businesses may accommodate exceptions to the face covering requirement by providing for curbside pickup, home delivery, or some other measure to deliver goods and services.
    • The Order clarifies that the mass gathering prohibition applies to parades, fairs, or festivals.
    • Local restrictions may not prevent or restrict businesses or operations from providing COVID-19 vaccines or advertising the availability of that service to the public.
    • The period of time in which the price gouging law is in effect is extended until 5 p.m., Friday, January 8, 2021.
    • The Order does not close any businesses currently allowed to be open except during the hours and circumstances described above.  The Order does not impose any additional capacity restrictions on businesses.

Executive Order #176 | Phase 3 Extension (Order Text)

  • Issued November 10, 2020 and effective until December 4, 2020.
  • Phase 3 was previously set to expire this Friday, November 13 at 5 p.m.
  • The main provisions of the Order:
    • Extend the Phase 3 restrictions and the period during which the price gouging law is in effect until December 4, 2020 at 5 p.m. and
    • Reduce the limit on mass gatherings indoors from 25 down to 10.  The limit on mass gatherings outdoors is not affected by the Order and remains at 50
    • The Order also makes the following corresponding changes with respect to amusement parks, museums, and aquariums.
      • All other group activities at amusement parks, such as tours, receptions, or parties, are subject to the Mass Gathering limit for outdoor spaces, and 25 individuals for indoor spaces. This maintains the current, higher mass gathering limit for these activities. Similarly, the restrictions for the amusement park as a whole and for specific rides are not affected.
      • Limit Guests in each room within a museum or aquarium such that they do not exceed 25 individuals. This maintains the current, higher mass gathering limit for these facilities. Similarly, the restrictions for the facility as a whole are not affected.

Executive Order #171 | Assisting North Carolinians at Risk of Eviction (Order Text)

  • Issued October 28, 2020
  • Became effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 30, and remains in effect until December 31, 2020.
  • The Order seeks to assist North Carolinians at risk of eviction in the State. Key provisions of the Order include the following:
    • The Order clarifies that the protections of an order issued by the CDC entitled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” applies to all residential tenants in North Carolina who qualify under the CDC Order.  The CDC Order protects certain residential tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent under certain conditions.
    • The Order clarifies that evictions may occur for reasons other than the nonpayment of rent.
    • The Order clarifies that the CDC Order applies to qualifying residential tenants regardless of whether the rental property is federally subsidized.
    • The Order requires landlords wishing to commence an eviction proceeding to provide the residential tenant with a copy of the Declaration form that is required by the CDC Order in order to take advantage of the protections under the CDC Order.
    • The Order clarifies that a single Declaration per household is all that is required, not a Declaration from each individual person living at the residence.
    • The Order requires a landlord to who has been provided with a Declaration pursuant to the CDC Order to notify the court in any pending or commenced eviction proceeding immediately that the Declaration has been received and must submit a copy of the Declaration with the court within five days.
    • The Order extends the protections of the CDC Order to residential tenants who have applied for assistance under the State’s HOPE Program and have been notified that they qualify for assistance even if those tenants would not qualify under the CDC Order.  The HOPE Program is a State program to provide assistance with respect to rent and utilities payments for residential tenants.

    The Order has no effect on evictions with respect to non-residential tenants.

Executive Order #170 | Phase 3 Extension (Order Text)

  • Issued October 21 and effective until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 13.
  • The Order extends the Phase 3 restrictions related to COVID-19.
  • The order also extends the period during which the State’s price gouging law is in effect until that time. These provisions had been set to expire as of 5 p.m. today.

Executive Order #169 | Phase (Order Text)

  • Issued September 30, 2020
  • The Order becomes effective this Friday, October 2, at 5 p.m. and remains in effect until Friday, October 23, at 5 p.m.
  • This Order further loosens restrictions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, but does not take the State to a complete reopening. The Order will be reevaluated in a few weeks in light of the State’s COVID-19 metrics at the time.  Key provisions of the order include the following:
    • Worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings; funeral ceremonies; wedding ceremonies; and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights are exempt from all the requirements of this Order.
    • Face coverings.
      • Face coverings continue to be required in all public places, businesses, and establishments where social distancing cannot be maintained.  This applies to both indoor and outdoor activities.
      • Employers whose employees are not working from home must make a good faith effort to provide each employee with a week’s supply of reusable masks or a disposable mask daily.
      • Previous exceptions to the face covering requirement continue in place.
      • Law enforcement may not issue citations to individuals for failure to wear face coverings, but may issue citations to businesses for failing to enforce the requirement.
    • Amusement parks and amusement transportation.  (Amusement transportation includes things like tour buses where the transportation is offered primarily for entertainment.)
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • Indoor rides must remain closed.
      • Capacity at an amusement park as a whole is limited to 30% of stated capacity.
      • Each ride or attraction at an amusement park and amusement transportation are limited to ensure enough space for social distancing and to ensure that members of different parties are not combined in the same vehicle.
      • The amusement park or transportation must comply with social distancing and cleaning guidelines.
    • Bars
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • May be open only for seated guests.
      • Indoor seating and amenities areas must be closed.  Alcohol may not be served for consumption indoors.
      • Outdoor seating areas may be open, but capacity is limited to the lesser of 30% of the stated capacity or 100 people.
      • Must comply with social distancing and cleaning requirements.
    • Other night spots  This includes lounges, music halls, auditoriums,  arenas,  etc.  It does not include Very Large Outdoor Venues.
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • May be open only for seated guests.
      • Indoor seating is limited to 25 guests.  Alcohol may not be served for consumption indoors.
      • Outdoor seating areas may be open, but capacity is limited to the lesser of 30% of the stated capacity or 100 people.
      • Must comply with social distancing and cleaning requirements.
    • The Phase 2.5 restrictions continue for child care facilities, overnight and day camps, government offices, museums and aquariums, pools, restaurants, retail businesses, transportation, personal care and grooming business, health care settings, and certain business involved in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.
    • Fitness and physical activity facilities.  This includes not only gyms and fitness centers, but bowling alleys, miniature golf, go-cart tracks, indoor playgrounds and paintball/laser tag facilities.
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • Capacity in indoor areas is limited to 30% of the stated fire capacity overall and capacity in any specific room is limited so that all individuals may maintain social distancing.
      • Capacity in outdoor areas is limited to 12 people per 1,000 square feet.
      • The capacity restrictions for “other night spots” discussed above apply to spectators at events at fitness and physical facilities that host spectators.
      • Must comply with social distancing and cleaning requirements.
    • Movie theaters, meeting facilities, and entertainment facilities.  This includes bridge parlors, arcades, and bingo parlors.
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • The establishment must be a seated establishment for guests.
      • Capacity is limited to 30% of the stated fire capacity or 100 guests, whichever is lower.
      • Must comply with social distancing and cleaning requirements.
    • Parks must restrict access so that each group of guests is no larger than the mass gatherings limit (i.e. the total number of guests in a park may exceed the mass gathering limit, but each individual group of guests is subject to the limit).
    • Restrictions on the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption continue.  These sales are prohibited from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m.
    • Mass gathering limits remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
    • Events at Very Large Outdoor Facilities
      • A Very Large Outdoor Facility is one that satisfies all the following conditions:
        • Guests are seated with assigned seats.
        • The event occurs outdoors and the majority of Guests are seated outdoors.
        • There are at least two separate entrances and at least two exits to the facility.
        • The total seating capacity of the facility, before reductions under this Executive Order, is ten thousand (10,000) or more.
      • Face coverings must be worn regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
      • Capacity is limited to 7% of the total seating capacity of the facility.
      • The facility must have a plan to limit gathering in common areas in the facility and have workers in place to implement or enforce those plans.
      • Each group of guests must be separated from every other group of guests by at least six feet.
      • The facility operator must discourage gathering of guests before or after the event (i.e. tailgating).
    • The price gouging laws remain applicable while this Order is in effect.

Executive Order #163 | New Phase 2.5 (Order Text)

  • Issued September 1, 2020
  • Becomes effective at 5 p.m, Friday, September 4, 2020 and lasts until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 2, 2020, unless otherwise adjusted.
  • Key provisions of this Order include the following:
    • Gyms and other fitness facilities may open.  These facilities must limit the number of participants (no more than 30% of stated fire capacity in indoor areas, subject to other restrictions), require face coverings of customers and workers, ensure social distancing, disinfect all equipment between users, and increase disinfection during peak times.
    • Museums and aquariums may open.  These facilities must limit the number of participants (no more than 50% of stated fire capacity, subject to other restrictions), require face coverings of customers and workers, ensure social distancing, and perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning.
    • Mass gatherings.  The limits on mass gatherings are increased to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.  For parks, trails, and beaches, these limits apply to the number of people within a single group.
    • Playgrounds may open.  Indoor playgrounds must comply with the requirements for gyms and fitness facilities.
    • Drive-in events are not subject to mass gathering rules if participants all stay within their cars.
    • Bars and entertainment facilities (such as movie theaters, arcades, amusement parks, and pool halls) must remain closed.  These types of facilities must remain closed even if they are located within an establishment that is allowed to open.
    • The period in which the price-gouging law remains in effect is extended until 5 p.m. on October 2,2020
  • State Resources

Executive Order #162 | Extending Alcohol Curfew (Order Text)

  • Issued September 1, 2020
  • Extends the period during which sales of alcoholic beverages are limited until 11 p.m., Friday, October 2, 2020
  • Executive Order 158, issued on July 28, 2020, prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption beginning at 11 p.m.  Executive Order 162 extends this prohibition

Executive Order #161 | Extension of Remote Shareholder Nonprofit Meetings (Order Text)

  • Issued September 1, 2020
  • This Order is in effect for 60 days – until Friday, October 30, 2020
  • Extends the period of time in which businesses and nonprofits are specifically authorized by State law to hold remote shareholder or directors meetings

Executive Order #155 | Extension of Phase 2 (Order Text)

  • Issued August 5, 2020
  • The order does the following:
    • Extends Phase 2 restrictions until 5 p.m. on Friday, September 11.
    • Extends the period of time during which the price gouging law is in effect until September 11.
    • Directs  the Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina State Board of Education to continue to work together during this State of Emergency to maintain and implement measures to provide for the health, nutrition, safety, educational needs, and well-being of children being taught by remote learning.
  • During a press conference about the decision to extend Phase 2, Gov. Cooper and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, explained the reasoning behind the five-week extension period.  The two previous extensions of Phase 2 were for three-week periods.  Dr. Cohen explained that the five-week period was chosen because of the significant changes over the next few weeks as schools and colleges begin to re-open.  Although many of the state’s larger school systems have chosen to open on a remote-only basis, about half of all school systems are opening partially in-person.  Similarly, most of the state’s colleges and universities are opening for in-person instruction this fall.  The five-week extension period will give the State more time to assess the effect of these re-openings on the course of the pandemic.

Executive Order #150 | Extending Transportation Waivers (Order Text)

  • Issued July 14, 2020
  • Extends certain transportation-related provisions in previous executive orders

Executive Order #149 | Remote Shareholder and Nonprofit Corp Meetings (Order Text)

  • Issued July 2, 2020
  • Reissuing of prior executive orders on remote shareholder and nonprofit meetings during the COVID-19 State of Emergency

Executive Order #148 | Extending DHHS Provisions (Order Text)

  • Issued June 26, 2020
  • Extends certain Health and Human Services provisions in previous executive orders

Executive Order #147 | Phase 2 Extension (Order Text)

  • Issued June 24, 2020
  • The Order contains two main provisions.  First, Phase 2 of restrictions will be extended for three weeks until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020.  Second, the Order requires face coverings to be worn in most public settings.  The face covering requirement becomes effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2020 and continues until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020 unless repealed, extended or otherwise amended.  Key provisions of the face covering requirement are as follows:
    • Face coverings must be worn in the following settings:
      1. Retail businesses.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person and all customers when they are inside and may be within six feet of other people.
      2. Restaurants.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person and all customers when not at their table.
      3. Personal care, grooming, and tattoo businesses.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person and all customers when they are inside and may be within six feet of other people (unless they are receiving services that require the face not be covered, such as shaving).
      4. Child care facilities and camps.  All people when they are or may be within six feet of another person.
      5. State government.  Agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor must comply with the same requirements as retail businesses.  Other State and local governments are encouraged to do so.
      6. Transportation.  All workers and customers when they are or may be within six feet of another person.  This applies to all public or private transportation (mass transit, airports, bus and train stations, taxis, ride-sharing services, etc.) other than people traveling with household members or friends in a personal vehicle.
      7. High-Density Occupational Setting Where Social Distancing is Difficult.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person.  This applies to manufacturing, construction, and certain agricultural businesses.
      8. Meat or Poultry Processing plants.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person.    These must be surgical masks, if available.
      9. Long-term care facilities.  All workers when they are or may be within six feet of another person.    These must be surgical masks, if available.
      10. Other health care settings.  These facilities must follow CDC requirements.
    • Exceptions to the face covering requirement exist for the individuals that fall into one or more of the following groups.  Individuals are not required to produce any proof that they fall into one of these categories.  The Order encourages people to be truthful about whether they satisfy one of these conditions.
      1. Should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance);
      2. Is under 11 years of age;
      3. Is actively eating or drinking;
      4. Is strenuously exercising;
      5. Is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
      6. Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience;
      7. Is working at home or is in a personal vehicle;
      8. Is temporarily removing his or her Face Covering to secure government or medical services or for identification purposes;
      9. Would be at risk from wearing a Face Covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines;
      10. Has found that his or her Face Covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle; or
      11. Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the Face Covering safely on the child’s face.
    • Enforcement of face covering requirements.
      1. Citations may be issued only to businesses or organizations that fail to enforce the requirement.
      2. Law enforcement is not authorized to enforce the requirement against individuals.
      3. Law enforcement may, however, enforce any other laws against an individual – such as trespassing if a business or organization refuses entry to an individual who refuses to wear a mask and the individual refuse to leave.
  • In addition to these provisions, the Order also:
    • Directs the State Health Director to issue a standing order to allow individuals who meet DHHS criteria for testing  to access and undergo testing for COVID-19.
    • Amends the restrictions related to long-term care facilities.
    • Extends the period in which the price-gouging laws apply until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020.
  • State resources:

Executive Order #145 | Criminal Justice Reform (Order Text)

  • Issued June 9, 2020
  • Creates the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.  The mission of the Task Force is to develop and help implement solutions that eliminate disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system for communities of color.  The Task Force will be chaired by North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.  The Task Force will comprise up to 25 members appointed by the Governor and will comprise representatives of law enforcement, various groups in the criminal justice system, advocates for communities of color, advocates for victims, justice-involved individuals, and State and local elected officials.  The Task Force will develop strategies and policy solutions to address the impact of racial bias while maintaining public safety for at least the following major areas:
    • Law Enforcement Practices and Accountability.
      • Law enforcement training to promote public safety and build community support.
      • Use of force.
      • Community policing.
      • Recruiting and retaining a diverse and racially equitable workforce.
      • Law enforcement accountability and culture.
      • Investigations.
      • Pre-arrest diversion and other alternatives to arrest.
    • Criminal Justice Practices and Accountability.
      • Pre-trial release and bail practices.
      • Charging decisions and criminal trials.
      • Use and impact of fines and fees.
  • Creates the Center for the Reduction of Law Enforcement Use of Deadly Force within the State Bureau of Investigation.  The Center is tasked with the following:
    • Collecting data, conducting behavioral and situational analysis, and producing applied research on the precursors and outcomes of law enforcement use of intermediate and lethal force.
    • Developing lessons learned and producing training for law enforcement officers that is intended to reduce the potential use of intermediate and lethal force within North Carolina whenever possible to assure the mutual safety and well-being of the general public and law enforcement.
    • Promoting transparency, mutual understanding, and public engagement related to law enforcement use of force issues, with a focus on outreach to minority communities of color
    • and diverse populations.
    • Pursuing collaborations and partnerships with law enforcement partners, higher education institutions, and community organizations to advance the public policy and research agenda of the Center.
  • Frequently Asked Questions For EO #145

Executive Order #143 | Addressing the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color(Order Text)

  • Issued Thursday, June 4, 2020
  • Implements several provisions designed to address the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on communities of color
  • The order attempts to the address these inequities in the areas of health, economic opportunity, environmental justice, education, and access to government services

Executive Order #142 | Temp Prohibitions on Evictions and Extending Prohibitions on Utility Shutoffs (Order Text)

  • Issued Saturday, May 30, 2020
  • Temporarily suspends residential and commercial evictions under certain circumstances and continues the prohibition on utility shut-offs

Executive Order #141 | Phase 2 (Order Text)

  • Issued May 20, 2020 and becomes effective Friday, May 22 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Remains in effect through at least Friday, June 26.
  • Key provisions of the Order are as follows:
    • The Stay at Home order is lifted, but people at high-risk of serious complications Covid-19 are still encouraged to remain at home as much as possible.
    • Individuals are strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing.
    • Worship, religious services, weddings, funerals, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights are exempt from all provisions of the Order.
    • Restaurants are allowed to operate for in-person dining, but are limited to 50% of their stated fire capacity.  Restaurant workers are encouraged to wear masks.
    • Personal care services, grooming, and tattoo businesses may reopen, but are limited to 50% of their stated fire capacity.  Workers in these industries are required to wear masks.
    • Indoor and outdoor pools may open, but are limited to 50% of stated fire capacity.
    • Childcare facilities may open and serve all children, but are subject to certain limitations.
    • Day camps and overnight camps are allowed, but are subject to certain limitations.
    • Mass gatherings remain limited.  Indoors, mass gatherings are limited to 10 people.  Outdoors, mass gatherings are limited to 25 people.
    • The following remain closed under the order:
      • Playgrounds.
      • Entertainment and fitness facilities.
      • Bars.
    • Entertainment and sporting events in large venues may occur, but subject to numerous restrictions.
      • Venues must have a seating capacity of at least 500.
      • Spectators are limited to the mass gathering limits – 10 people for indoor venues and 25 people for outdoor venues.
      • The mass gathering limits due not apply to entertainers, performers, athletes, coaches, training and support staff, broadcasting staff and up to two additional employees.
    • State guidance on “Safer at Home” Phase 2

Executive Order #138 | Phase 1 (Order Text)

  • Issued May 5, 2020 and became effective May 8 at 5:00 p.m.
  • State guidance on Phase 1:
  • Summary of Executive Order:
    • The list of allowable activities is expanded. Previously, people were allowed to leave home for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work, and to take care of others.  This order expands that list to include looking for work, to exercise First Amendment rights, to travel between residences, to volunteer, and to attend small outdoor get togethers.
    • Most businesses will be able to open. The order still prohibits the following businesses from opening.
      • Personal care and grooming businesses including barber shops, beauty salons, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and massage therapists.
      • Entertainment facilities without a retail or dining component including bingo parlors, bowling alleys, indoor exercise facilities, health clubs indoor/outdoor pools, live performance venues, movie theaters, skating rinks, spas, gaming businesses.  Those facilities that do have a retail or dining component may remain open for those purposes only.
    • Restaurants and bars will still be limited to selling food and beverages for off-premises consumption only. This also applies to other businesses selling food and beverages, like grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores.
    • Retail businesses must take the following steps:
      • Limit customer capacity to no more than 50% of stated fire capacity or 12 customers for every 1,000 square feet of the location’s total square footage.  Currently these limits are 20% of capacity or 5 customers for every 1,000 square feet.
      • Limit occupancy so that customers may remain six feet apart, even this is lower than the limit above.
      • Mark six feet of space in lines at point of sale and other high-traffic areas.
      • Perform frequent and routine cleaning and disinfection.
      • Provide hand sanitizer whenever available.
      • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, immediately send symptomatic workers home, and have a plan for immediately isolating workers if symptoms develop.
      • Post signage about social distancing requirements.
    • Retail businesses are encouraged to do the following:
      • Direct workers to stay six feet away from each other and customers to the extent possible.
      • Provide designated times for high-risk populations.
      • Develop and use systems for alternative ordering, pick-up, and delivery options.
      • High-volume stores are encouraged to use acrylic or plastic shields, mark designated entrances and exits, and provide assistance with routing through stores.
    • All businesses are encouraged to do the following:
      • Continue to promote telework.
      • Reduce the number of people in the workplace by providing more space between work stations or staggering shifts.
      • Limit face-to-face meetings to no more than 10 workers.
      • Promote hygiene.
      • Recommend workers wear cloth face masks.
      • Make accommodations for workers at high risk of severe illness.
      • Encourage sick workers to stay home and provide support for that with a sick leave policy.
      • Follow CDC guidance if a worker is diagnosed with Covid-19.
      • Provide information to workers.
    • State parks and trails may reopen, but must follow the requirements applicable to retail businesses.
    • Playgrounds must remain closed.
    • Childcare centers must continue to follow guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
    • Day camps must operate in compliance with DHHS guidelines. Day camps may not allow sports or other activities where social distancing can not be maintained.  Day camps may provide sports where social distancing can be maintained.
    • Day camps may operate at a facility that is otherwise closed to the public (such as a bowling alley or pool), but the facility may operate for that purpose only.
    • Overnight camps may not operate.
    • Schools will remain physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
    • Local school boards will determine whether and how to conduct graduations and other year-end ceremonies. Those events must be conducted in accordance with Executive Orders and guidance from DHHS and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
    • Mass gatherings are still limited to 10 persons. Mass gatherings do not include gatherings for health and safety, to look for and obtain goods and services, for work, for worship or exercise of First Amendment rights, or for receiving governmental services. Mass gatherings do not include normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, shopping malls, and shopping centers.
    • If possible, allowable mass gatherings should take place outdoors.
    • Mass gatherings for funerals are allowed up to 50 people.
    • Strict restrictions continue for skilled nursing facilities and are strongly encouraged for other types of long-term care facilities.
    • Local governments may generally continue to impose stricter requirements. However, local governments may not restrict federal or State government operations and may not set different retail requirements.
    • The prohibition against price gouging is extended until May 22, 2020.

Executive Order #135 | Extensions (Order Text)

  • Issued April 23, 2020 and became effective immediately
  • Extends current stay at home order until  at least 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 8. The order could be extended further based on conditions at the time
  • Orders limiting mass gatherings, requiring social distancing, and restricting visitation at long term care facilities

Executive Order #134 | UI Furlough (Order Text)

  • Issued April 20, 2020
  • Allows businesses flexibility to make payments that assist their employees during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Executive Order #131 | Retail/Long-Term Care Facilities/Unemployment Insurance (Order Text)

  • Issued April 9, 2020
  • The order imposes new social distancing requirements on retail establishments that remain open.
    • Retail establishments include any business in which customers enter to purchase goods or services.  This includes businesses like banks in addition to traditional retail establishments.
    • Occupancy is limited to no more than 20% of the stated fire capacity or five customers for every 1000 square feet of the location’s total square footage.
    • Establishments must post staff at store entrances and exits to enforce the new occupancy limit.
    • Establishments must mark six feet of spacing at cash registers and other high-traffic areas and in a line outside the establishment.
    • Establishments must perform frequent and routine cleanings of all high-touch areas.
    • The order overrides any local order that set a different standard for maximum occupancy.
    • This section becomes effective April 13, 2020 at 5 p.m. and remains in effect for 30 days unless modified or lifted.
  • The order makes the following recommendations for retail establishments, but does not require them.
    • Establishments are encouraged to provide cloth face masks to employees that cannot consistently maintain a six-foot distance from other employees or customers.
    • Establishments should instruct employees to stay at home if sick.
    • Establishments are encouraged to mark six-foot distances in high-traffic areas that are limited to employees.
    • Establishments are encouraged to make hand sanitizer available and to have cleaning supplies available for shopping carts.
    • Establishments are encouraged to have designated shopping times for high-risk groups.
    • Establishments are encouraged to develop and use online ordering, curbside pickup, and no-contact checkout.
    • High-volume establishments are encouraged to use acrylic shields at cash registers and to provide assistance with routing through aisles.
  • The order imposes new restrictions with respect to long-term care facilities.   Skilled nursing facilities are required to comply with the following requirements and other long-term care facilities are encouraged to do so:
    • Prevent staff who are ill from coming to or remaining at work.
    • Screen all staff at the beginning of their shift for fever and respiratory symptoms.
    • Cancel communal dining and all group activities.
    • Implement universal use of facemasks for all staff.
    • Actively monitor all residents for fever and respiratory symptoms.
    • Notify the local health department immediately of any new cases among residents and of any cluster of cases among residents and staff.
    • This section of the order becomes effective at 5 p.m., April 10 and remains in place until lifted.
  • The order contains the following provisions with respect to unemployment insurance.
    • Allows the Division of Employment Security to waive some requirements with respect to attached claims if it will speed up processing of benefits.
    • This section is effective retroactively to April 1, 2020 and remains in place for 60 days unless modified or lifted.

Executive Order #130 | Meeting North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Needs (Order Text)

  • Issued April 8, 2020 and becomes effective immediately.  Remains in place for 60 days (with certain exceptions for provisions with a later expiration date) unless modified.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive or modify any legal or regulatory constraint that would prevent or impair the following:
    • Increasing health care facilities’ bed capacity.
    • Relocating beds from a currently operating facility to another physical location.
    • Adding dialysis stations to an existing center or hospital and relocating dialysis stations to another physical space.
    • Acquisition of medical imaging equipment by or on behalf of a hospital.
    • Allowing an ambulatory surgical facility to operate as a temporary hospital.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive, modify, or impose new regulations on child care facilities.
  • Provides that child care facilities may provide services only to a) children of employees of essential businesses, b) children receiving child welfare services, and c) children who are homeless or living in unstable or unsafe living arrangements.
  • Grants each professional health care licensure board the authority temporarily to:
    • Allow persons to provide care if they are licensed in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia.
    • Allow persons to provide care if they are retired or have inactive licenses.
    • Allowing skilled, but unlicensed volunteers to provide care.
    • Allowing students at an appropriate stage of study to provide care.
  • Provides of a limitation of liability for emergency management workers, including persons licensed or authorized to provide health care services.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive or modify the expiration date of transitional food establishment permits and of analyst permits related to blood alcohol testing.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive or modify any regulatory constraints that would prevent or impair the continued provision of MH/DD/SAS Services or providing these services via telehealth.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive or modify any regulatory constraints that would prevent or impair providing PACE services in an in-home setting or other in-home care services.
  • Grants the HHS Secretary the authority temporarily to waive or modify certain regulations with respect to the State/County Special Assistance program

Executive Order #129 | Law Enforcement Training Requirements Flexibility (Order Text)

  • Issued April 7, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts until May 7.
  • Allows a waiver of requirements that certain law enforcement training be completed “during consecutive calendar weeks”.

Executive Order #125 | Authorizing and Encouraging Remote Shareholder Meetings (Order Text)

  • Issued April 1, 2020 and became effective immediately.

Executive Order #124 | Utilities Evictions and Financial Services (Order Text)

  • Issued March 31, 2020, and became effective immediately.
  • Utilities service providers (electric, natural gas, water, or wastewater):
    • Prohibited from terminating service.
    • Prohibited from imposing late fees.
    • Required to allow customers to pay arrearages over a six-month period after the order terminates.
    • Encouraged to reconnect previously disconnected service.
    • Required to work with State agencies to publicize payment assistance programs.
    • Required to provide notice of these provisions to their customers.
    • This section remains in effective for 60 days.
  • Cable, telecommunications and related services:
    • Urged to follow the provisions related to utilities.
    • Urged to lift or greatly expand data caps.
  • Eviction proceedings:
    • Provided guidance on orders by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court with respect to evictions.
    • Pursuant to the Chief Justice’s orders, no new eviction proceedings may commence until the expiration date of the orders – currently April 17, 2020.
    • During this time period, no new rental bonds are due.
    • Urged Clerks of Superior Court and Sheriffs to delay implementation of evictions that have already been ordered.
    • Encouraged property owners to work with tenants to implement payment plans to avoid evictions.
    • Encouraged lenders to work with property owners with respect to loan payment flexibility to reduce the pressure to pursue eviction of tenants.
  • Bank and mortgage companies’ customers:
    • Urged to waive or reduce a number of fees.
    • Urged to extend new credit, where prudent.
    • Urged to increase daily ATM cash withdrawal limits.
    • Urged to increase credit card limits for creditworthy customers.
    • Urged to offer payment accommodations.
    • Urged to cease reporting derogatory information to credit reporting agencies.
    • Urged to forbear mortgage payments for at least 180 days and give mortgagors the option to extend loan terms by that number of days without a lump sum payment due at the end of the forbearance period.
    • Urged to postpone foreclosures and evictions for at least 90 days.

Executive Order #122 | State Surplus Property (Order Text)

  • Issued March 30, 2020, and became effective immediately.
  • Authorizes the disposal of surplus State property by donation or transfer to any State agency, political subdivision of the State, or public school system in the State.
  • Authorizes the Secretary of Administration to approve donations or transfers of personal protective equipment and other healthcare supplies.

Executive Order #121 | Stay at Home Order (Order Text)

FAQs for Stay at Home Order

Key provisions of the order are as follows:

  1. Residents are ordered to stay at home, with the following exceptions
    1. To engage in activities necessary for the health and safety of the individual and the individual’s household or family (including pets).  Examples of these activities include receiving medical treatment or obtaining medical supplies (like refilling a prescription).
    2. To obtain necessary supplies and services.  This includes things like trips to the grocery store, trips to the office supply store to enable one to work from home, and trips to hardware stores to obtain supplies to maintain the function and safety of the home.
    3. To engage in outdoor activity like walking, running, hiking, or biking.  Even in these cases, social distancing must be maintained.  In addition, most of the orders have specifically ordered that playgrounds be closed due to the likelihood of transmission from multiple people touching the same equipment.
    4. To perform work at specific types of essential businesses.
    5. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household.
    6. To travel to and from a place of worship.
    7. To travel to receive goods or services from an essential businesses.
    8. Travel related to child custody or visitation agreements.
    9. To volunteer with organizations providing charitable and social services.
  2. All non-essential businesses must cease operations.
  3. Essential businesses should direct employees to work from home to the maximum extent possible.
  4. Essential businesses include:
    1. Businesses that can conduct activities while maintaining social distancing requirements.
    2. Businesses operating in sectors identified in the March 19, 2020, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Infrastructure & Security Agency (CISA), Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.
    3. Healthcare and public health operations
    4. Human services operations
    5. Essential infrastructure operations
    6. Essential government operations
    7. Stores that sell groceries and medicine.
    8. Food and beverage production and agriculture.
    9. Organizations that provide essential services for the economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy people.
    10. Religious entities
    11. Media
    12. Gas stations and other transportation support businesses, such as auto-part stores and auto-repair.
    13. Financial institutions like banks.  Sometimes these operations are limited to services that cannot be provided remotely.
    14. Hardware and supply stores.
    15. Critical trades, such as plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and security.
    16. Mail, shipping, and delivery services.
    17. Educational institutions, but only for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions.
    18. Laundry services.
    19. Restaurants, but for off-premises consumption only (i.e. take-out and delivery).
    20. Businesses that produce, distribute, or sell supplies that facilitate working from home.
    21. Business that sell, produce, or distribute products and services that enable other essential businesses to operate.
    22. Transportation services like airlines, taxis, and mobile ride-hailing companies.
    23. Home-based care services.
    24. Residential facilities and shelters.
    25. Certain professional services.
    26. Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries.
    27. Defense and military contractors
    28. Childcare services, often with limitations.
    29. Hotels and motels.
    30. Funeral services.
    31. Electronic retailers that cell communications technology
    32. Lawn and garden equipment retailers
    33. Bookstores that sell educational material.
    34. Beer, wine, and liquor stores.
    35. Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores.
    36. Retail located within healthcare facilities.
    37. Pet and feed stores.
  5. Businesses excluded from the list of essential businesses may direct requests to be included as an essential business to the Department of Revenue.  (NOTE:  There is no requirement that a business have a specific designation as an essential business.  This is intended to create a process for businesses that do not fall under any of the existing categories to nonetheless be designated as an essential business.)
  6. Non-essential businesses may conduct minimum basic operations, which are defined as:
    1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition o the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or related functions.
    2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
  7. Mass gatherings are prohibited.  For these purposes, a mass gathering is more than 10 people.
    1. Funerals are permitted to include no more than 50 people.
  8. Local orders ARE NOT preempted.  Local governments may impose greater restrictions than those imposed by this order.

Executive Order #120 | Additional Limitations on Mass Gathering; Long-term Care Facilities; Extension of School Closure (Order Text)

  • Issued March 23, 2020.
  • Prohibited mass gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Specifically closed certain types of businesses including some amusement venues (live performance venues, movie theaters, etc.) and various types of businesses that require close physical contact (hair salons, massage parlors, spas, nail salons, tattoo and massage parlors, etc.).
  • Mandated the continuance of certain local government services.
  • Restricted visitation at long-term care facilities.
  • Extended the closure of public schools through May 15, 2020.

Executive Order #119 | Motor Vehicle Operations; Authority of DHHS (Order Text)

  • Issued March 20, 2020.
  • Allowed the DHHS Secretary to waive certain provisions related to childcare facilities.
  • Made additional alterations with respect to transportation provisions.

Executive Order #118 | Limiting Operations of Restaurants; Unemployment Insurance (Order Text)

  • Issued March 17, 2020.
  • Closed bars and restaurants for on-premises consumption.
  • Made various changes with respect to the unemployment insurance program.

Executive Order #117 | Prohibiting Mass Gathering; K-12 School Closure (Order Text)

  • Issued March 14, 2020.
  • Prohibited mass gatherings of more than 100 people.
  • Mandated public school closure from March 16 until March 30.
  • Urged people to maintain social distancing.

Executive Order #116 | State of Emergency (Order Text)

  • Issued March 10, 2020.
  • This was the first order issued by the Governor and in it he declared a State of Emergency with respect to the Covid-19 epidemic.  The order included provisions with respect to the following:
    • Waived several State provisions with respect to transportation.
    • Created a Covid-19 task force.
    • Authorized the hiring of temporary State employees and authorized restrictions on State employee officials travel.
    • Ordered the State Lab to maximize testing capacity.
    • Authorized right of entry and disinfection of DHHS and local health departments.
    • Ordered cleaning of certain facilities.
    • Waived licensure requirements for healthcare personnel licensed in another State.
    • Made various orders with respect to funding.
    • Waived certain purchasing and contract provisions.
    • Made certain changes with respect to Medicaid

North Carolina COVID-19 Resources