Staying Ahead of the Curve

North Carolina is taking a multi-phased approach – based on data from testing, tracing and trends and in consultation with members of the business community – to restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and save lives. Learn more below about restrictions currently in place.

Current Restrictions

The table below provides a general summary of restrictions imposed under recent executive orders as well as frequently asked questions and relevant guidance from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional guidance is also available.

  • Under Executive Order 195 , North Carolina remains under restrictions, some of which have been cautiously lifted under the state's phased "dimmer switch" approach, as outlined in the table below, until at least 5 p.m. March 26,  2021.
  • Executive Order 183 (extended under Executive Order 190) is in effect until at least March 31, 2021.
Executive Order Summary More Information
Executive Order 195
  • Lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order established under Executive Order 181
  • Still requires face coverings in all public indoor settings
  • Allows many businesses to operate at 50% capacity
  • Extends onsite service of alcohol until 11 p.m.
  • Lifts the 100-person cap on some businesses that were operating at 30% capacity 
  • Allows some indoor businesses – including bars and taverns, indoor amusement parks, movie theaters and indoor sports arenas – to open at 30% capacity (with a cap of 250 people)
  • Allows larger indoor arenas with a capacity of more than 5,000 people to open at 15% capacity with no cap (as long as additional safety protocols in place)
  • Increases the indoor mass gathering limit to 25 people (the outdoor mass gathering limit remains at 50 people)

Executive Order 183

Extended under Executive Order 190

  • Allows establishments holding certain permits from the ABC Commission, including restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars and some distilleries to sell mixed beverages to-go or for delivery
  • Requires the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption to cease at 9 p.m., but businesses subject to the order may continue to sell mixed beverages for off-site consumption until their business closes and in accordance with other applicable laws and regulations
Lifting Additional Restrictions

Lifting Additional Restrictions

Depending on state COVID-19 trends, restrictions may be lifted more slowly, or some restrictions may have to be reinstated to ensure the health and safety of North Carolinians. It is important to note:

  • If infections spike or benchmark trends begin to move in the wrong direction, the state may move to a previous phase to protect public health.
  • The best science and data available will be used to make all decisions and continue consultation with business and industry leaders.
Measuring Progress

Measuring Progress

To continue lifting restrictions, North Carolina needs to see progress in key metrics. (View a slideshow summary of trends, as presented Feb. 24, 2021.)

Metric Status (as of Feb. 24, 2021)
COVID-19-Like Syndromic Cases
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in COVID-like illness surveillance over 14 days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.
New Cases
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is decreasing.
Positive Tests as a Percentage of Total Tests
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in the percentage of tests returning positive over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests is decreasing.
Hospitalizations
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is decreasing.

Additional information is available on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Service's COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard, where key metrics are updated daily, as well as the department's COVID-19 County Alert System Report, which is updated approximately every other week.

Building Future Capabilities

Building Future Capabilities

North Carolina will continue building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread.

Metric Status (as of Feb. 24, 2021)
Laboratory testing Testing is widely available across the state. 
Contact tracing

The state's COVID-19 exposure notification app has been downloaded more than 716,600 times.

Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, gloves, gowns, N95 masks as well as surgical and procedural masks

Calculated based on the average number of requests for the last 14 days compared to the supply that the state has on hand

Personal protective equipment supplies are stable.

Additional information is available on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Service's COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard, where key metrics are updated daily, as well as the department's COVID-19 County Alert System Report, which is updated approximately every other week.

Related Resources

Related Resources

Legislation

Documents