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.

Executive Order Summary

Executive Order 209

Effective 5 p.m. April 30 until at least June 30:
  • Lifts the outdoor masks requirement
  • Increases mass gathering indoor limits to 100 and outdoor limit to 200
  • Continues to require that face masks be required in indoor public places
  • Continues strong safety requirements concerning social distancing and capacity limits

Executive Order 204

Effective until 5 p.m. April 30:
  • Still requires face coverings in all public indoor settings
  • Fully lifts the 11 p.m. curfew for on-site service of alcohol 
  • Increases the indoor mass gathering limit to 50 people and the outdoor mass gathering limit to 100 
  • Increases maximum occupancy limits:
    • 100% for museums, aquariums, retail businesses and shops, barbershops, salons
    • 75% indoors and outdoors for restaurants, breweries, wineries, amusement parks, gyms, pools
    • 50% indoors and outdoors for bars, conference centers, reception venues, sports arenas, other live performance venues
  • More details about what's changed

Executive Order 183 (extended under Executive Order 205 and Executive Order 210)

In effect until at least June 1:

  • 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
  • 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. 

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Metric Status (as of April 28, 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 level.
New Cases
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is level.
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 level.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

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