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

North Carolina will enter Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions, effective 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. (View Phase 3 FAQs.)

 Under Executive Order 169: 

  • 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 will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to Oct. 23.  

State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when Executive Order 169 expires Oct. 23. 

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 Sept. 30, 2020.)

 

Metric Status (as of Sept. 30, 2020)
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in COVID-like illness surveillance over 14 days North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness has a slight increase.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is level.
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.

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. 30, 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. The state has also launched a new COVID-19 exposure notification app. 

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 and continue to be distributed across the state.

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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