Staying Ahead of the Curve

North Carolina is taking a three-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.

Safer at Home: About Phase 2

Under Executive Order 147, North Carolina remains in Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until Friday, July 17. People are also required, with some exceptions, to wear face coverings while out in public when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible.

  Phase 1 Phase 2 (effective 5 p.m. May 22)
Commercial activity People should only leave home for essential purposes (e.g., food, medicine) More businesses are open
Retail 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
Child care Child care centers open for working parents or those looking for work Open for all children; view guidance
Teleworking Encouraged Encouraged
Restaurants Take-out and delivery 50% capacity; view guidance
Bars and nightclubs Closed Closed
Barbers, salons and personal-care businesses Closed 50% capacity; view guidance
Theaters, indoor music venues, bowling alleys, skating rinks, etc. Closed Closed
Museums Closed Closed
Gyms and fitness studios Closed Closed
Large venues, arenas and stadiums Closed Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Playgrounds Closed Closed
Pools Closed Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Day camps Closed Open but with restrictions; view guidance
Long-term care visitation Not allowed Restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations
State parks and trails Opening encouraged Opening encouraged
Face coverings Encouraged Encouraged

Click on a topic below for more information.

Lifting Additional Restrictions

Lifting Additional Restrictions

Details of Gov. Roy Cooper's three-phased approach to lift restrictions are outlined below. 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.

Social distancing, hand hygiene and use of cloth face coverings will still be recommended. 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.

Measuring Progress

Measuring Progress

To continue lifting restrictions, North Carolina needs to see progress in key metrics. See the table below, or view a slideshow summary of trends (as of June 24, 2020).

Metric Status (As of June 24, 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 increasing.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.
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 remains elevated.
Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in hospitalizations over 14 days North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.

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 June 24, 2020)
Increase in laboratory testing Testing has increased with an average of more than 17,000 tests per day for the past week, and there are more than 500 testing sites, plus additional pop-up sites.
Increase in tracing capability There are more than 1,500 full-time and part-time staff supporting contact tracing efforts at local health departments, including 309 Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative contact tracers. They reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and 44% are bilingual.

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

The supply chain is 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

Joined by the leaders of the N.C. General Assembly, Gov. Roy 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.

House Bill 1043 allocates federal funding sent to the state from the CARES Act. It includes:

  • $50 million to provide personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies
  • $25 million to support enhanced COVID-19 testing and tracing
  • $125 million in small business loans administered through the Golden LEAF Foundation
  • $50 million in health support for underserved communities, including rural areas and minority communities
  • $95 million to support North Carolina hospitals
  • $20 million to support local health departments and the State Health Lab
  • $75 million for school nutrition programs
  • $70 million for summer learning programs
  • $30 million for local schools to purchase computers and other devices for students
  • $6 million for food banks
  • $9 million for rural broadband
  • $85 million for vaccine development, antibody testing, community testing and other COVID-19-related research at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Campbell University and Wake Forest University

Senate Bill 704 contains provisions to help North Carolinians. It includes:

  • An extension of driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines
  • Waived interest on tax payments normally due in April
  • Modifies end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools
  • Adjusts the 2020-21 K-12 public school calendar
  • Allows pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed
Related Resources

Related Resources

News Releases