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 lift restrictions in place to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and save lives. Learn more below about restrictions currently in place.

Safer at Home: About Phase 2.5

Under Executive Order 163, North Carolina is under Safer At Home Phase 2.5 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions, effective 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4. Under this phase, people are also required, with some exceptions, to wear face coverings while out in public when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible.

FAQs & Guidance

Restrictions at a Glance

Restrictions at a Glance

  Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 2.5 (current restrictions)
Commercial activity People should only leave home for essential purposes (e.g., food, medicine) More businesses are open More businesses are open
Retail 50% capacity allowed with cleaning and social distancing 50% capacity allowed with cleaning and social distancing 50% capacity allowed with cleaning and social distancing; view guidance
Gatherings 10-person limit; gathering outdoors with friends allowed 10-person limit indoors; 25-person limit outdoors 25-person limit indoors; 50-person limit outdoors  
Child care Child care centers open for working parents or those looking for work Open for all children Open for all children; view guidance
Teleworking Encouraged Encouraged Encouraged
Restaurants Take-out and delivery 50% capacity 50% capacity; view guidance
Bars and nightclubs Closed Closed Closed
Barbers, salons and personal-care businesses Closed 50% capacity 50% capacity; view guidance
Theaters, indoor music venues, etc. Closed Closed Closed
Bowling alleys, skating rinks Closed Closed 30% capacity; view guidance
Museums and aquariums Closed Closed 50% capacity
Gyms and fitness studios Closed Closed 30% capacity; view guidance
Large venues, arenas and stadiums Closed Open but with restrictions Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Playgrounds Closed Closed Open
Pools Closed Open but with restrictions Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Day camps Closed Open but with restrictions Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Long-term care visitation Not allowed Restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations Restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations
State parks and trails Opening encouraged Opening encouraged Opening encouraged
Face coverings Encouraged Required under Executive Order 147 Required under Executive Order 147; view guidance
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 Sept. 17, 2020.)

 

Metric Status (as of Sept. 17, 2020)
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in COVID-like illness surveillance over 14 days North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is declining.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is declining.
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 declining.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is declining.

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.

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 Sept. 17, 2020)
Increase in laboratory testing

Access to testing has expanded. No-cost testing events are being deployed across the state, and testing turnaround times have improved.

Increase in tracing capability

The state continues hiring contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments. They reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and nearly half are bilingual. A new exposure notification app will be launched soon. 

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.

Funding & Relief

Funding & Relief

  • Gov. Roy Cooper on Aug. 26, 2020, shared a recommended budget that outlines how to use North Carolina's remaining $900 million in federal coronavirus funding and make responsible investments in the state's future. Read the proposed budget.
  • Joined by the leaders of the N.C. General Assembly, Gov. Cooper on May 4, 2020, signed two bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills providing more than $1.5 billion in emergency funding for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance and continuity of state government operations.
Related Resources

Related Resources

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