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 3

Under Executive Order 169 and Executive Order 176, North Carolina remains under Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until at least Dec. 4.  Under Phase 3: 

  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, such as arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings is 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.  
  • An 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption remains in effect in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars/

FAQs & 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 Nov. 23, 2020.)

Metric Status (as of Nov. 23, 2020)
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 has increased.
New Cases
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases has increased.
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 has increased.
Hospitalizations
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is has increased.

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 Nov. 23, 2020)
Laboratory testing Testing capacity remains high.
Contact tracing

The state continues hiring contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments. The state's COVID-19 exposure notification app has been downloaded more than 430,000 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 remain stable.

Additional information is available on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Service's COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboards.

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

News Releases

Presentations

Legislation

Documents