COVID-19 Novel CoronavirusInformation For Citizens & Visitors to North Carolina
March 23 Update - Governor Cooper Announces North Carolina Will Relax Some COVID-19 Restrictions
State’s trends continue to move in the right direction and key indicators used to inform decisions throughout the pandemic remain stable
As North Carolina’s trends continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases with 31.7% of North Carolinians over 18 having received at least one dose of vaccine, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will continue to ease some COVID-19 restrictions.
Executive Order No. 204 will take effect March 26 at 5 pm is set to expire April 30 at 5 pm. The state’s general mask mandate remains in effect.
“Our fast and fair vaccine distribution and our sustained progress with the COVID-19 metrics tell us we can move forward with easing restrictions if we do it safely,” said Governor Cooper.
“We are in a promising place. With North Carolina’s COVID-19 key metrics improving and vaccinations increasing, we can responsibly use our dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions guided by science and data,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Executive Order No. 204 has three general categories of occupancy restrictions: up to 100 percent capacity, 75 percent capacity, and 50 percent capacity. All businesses must continue to maintain the 6 feet of distance requirement between patrons and implement other safety protocols as they expand their capacity.
Executive Order No. 204 will also increase mass gathering limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 25 to 50 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 50 to 100. This Order also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments.
Indoors and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
Museums and Aquariums
Salons, personal care and grooming businesses, tattoo parlors
Indoors up to 75% and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries
Recreation (e.g., bowling, skating, rock climbing)
Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, yoga studios, fitness centers)
Indoors and Outdoors up to 50% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
Auditoriums, Arenas, and other venues for live performances
Sports Arenas and Fields (includes professional, collegiate, and amateur
*Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at up to 75% capacity outdoors.
Activities and settings are lower risk when they involve interacting with fewer people, being outside, keeping masks on the entire time, keeping interactions with people short (under 15 minutes), staying physically distant, and avoiding singing, yelling, and cheering, according to public health officials.
North Carolina is continuing to see fast and fair vaccine distribution. To date, the state has administered over 4.1 million doses. Over 31.7 percent of people 18 and up have received at least one dose, and 18.8 percent are fully vaccinated. Vaccine equity efforts remain a priority, with 18 percent of first doses administered to Black North Carolinians and 8 percent to members of the LatinX community last week.
DHHS also released updates to the K-12 guidance. Schools should return to in-person instruction to the fullest extent possible while following all public health protocols in the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit. This update aligns with Session Law 2021-4, which Governor Cooper and bipartisan legislative leadership worked on together. Plan A has already been widely adopted across the state as districts, educators and support staff have worked hard to get students back in the classroom. The updated Toolkit no longer requires schools to do daily temperature checks and symptom screenings. Safety protocols such as masks and cleaning of high traffic areas are still required. Schools are also highly encouraged to conduct free screening testing as recommended by the CDC.
State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to have a mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.
February 24 Update - North Carolina Eases COVID-19 Restrictions as Trends Stabilize
As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.
Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.
Changes with this Executive Order:
30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
- Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
- Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
- Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
- Movie Theatres
- Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
- Sports Arenas and Fields*
*Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit
- Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
- Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
- Museums and Aquariums
- Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
- Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors
March 02 Update - Gov. Cooper Announces Frontline Essential Workers Eligible for Vaccination Beginning March 3
Group 4 vaccinations to begin March 24 for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk or who live in certain congregate settings.
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning tomorrow, March 3. The expedited timeline follows the approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to North Carolina.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation. A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. While there is still not enough vaccine for everyone, the improved supply has contributed to providers reporting readiness to expand access to additional Group 3 essential workers. Under the timeline outlined today, providers may move to vaccinating these individuals on March 3. Sec. Cohen also unveiled a Public Service Announcement encouraging vaccine use among Group 3 essential workers.
Gov. Cooper also outlined an expected timeline for beginning Group 4 vaccinations. Beginning on March 24, people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings.
NCDHHS also shared clarifications for Groups 1 and 4. The definition of long-term care in Group 1 has been updated for people with intellectual and developmental disability. Higher-risk medical conditions for Group 4 include intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.
March 01 Update - NC to Receive Authorized Johnson & Johnson’s One-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Wednesday, March 3rd
North Carolina has another tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to protect against virus-related hospitalization and death. The federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) one-shot vaccine and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the state this week, beginning on Wednesday.
“A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently in use, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine protects against virus-related hospitalization and death. There are possible temporary reactions, such as a sore arm, fever, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized were built upon decades of previous work on similar vaccines.
This increased supply will help to ensure the equitable distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines in every community in the state. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a single-dose shot and does not require extreme cold storage. As a result, it can be more easily shipped, stored and administered, factors that will help to increase the number of vaccination sites and make them more accessible.
“COVID-19 vaccines and the continued use of the 3 Ws are the most effective ways to help North Carolina stop the spread of COVID-19, get us back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love,” said Secretary Cohen.
January 21 - NCDOT and NCDHHS Announce Solution to Help Fund Transit Rides to and from COVID-19 Vaccine Sites
Today, the NC Department of Transportation and the NC Department of Health and Human Services announced that approximately $2.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding is being distributed to local transit agencies across the state to help pay for rides for individuals who need transportation assistance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
"Every North Carolinian has a spot and needs to get their shot," said Governor Roy Cooper. "As vaccine supply increases, we are deploying every resource to make sure people have access and are not held back by barriers like lack of transportation."
Each local transit agency will receive a set amount of funding, and the initiative will continue until funds are exhausted for that agency. The funds can be used to offset operating costs associated with transit rides to and from vaccination sites for people who are receiving or assisting someone in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is everybody’s business and every organization has something they can do to help,” said DOT Secretary J. Eric Boyette. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help get North Carolinians vaccinated as quickly and easily as possible.”
“Partnerships like this are crucial to make it possible for everyone to be able to take their shot when it’s their spot,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD.
People who need transportation assistance to a COVID-19 vaccine should reach out to their local transit agency. You can find your local transit agency online at NC_public_transit.pdf (ncdot.gov). Local transit agencies serve all 100 North Carolina counties.
Some vaccine locations are providing the vaccine by appointment only. For a list of vaccine providers by county, visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available per the state’s rollout plan and free of charge, regardless of access to health insurance or legal status. As the vaccine rollout moves to next phases, those within earlier prioritization groups will remain eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine prioritization is designed to save lives and prevent spread while vaccine supplies are limited. Everyone has a spot, and you can find yours at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.
December 21 - Governor Announces Executive Order 183 - Allows for To-Go or Delivery Sales for Mixed Beverages through January 31, 2021
Gov. Cooper has signed an Executive Order allowing restaurants and bars to deliver or carry-out mixed beverages effective tonight at 5:00 pm. This order will give small businesses a financial boost while we work to slow viral spread in our state.
State of North Carolina COVID-19 Latest Information
- NCDHHS announced it updated its vaccination plan to align with new federal recommendations issued last week. The changes simplify the vaccine process and continue the state’s commitment to first protect health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. North Carolina is currently in Phase 1a, which includes health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents. Download the infographic in English and Spanish to learn more about the phases. Read more information at yourspotyourshot.nc.gov.
- Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 184, extending North Carolina’s evictions moratorium through January 31, 2021. Research shows that eviction moratoriums help prevent the spread of COVID-19. States that let their eviction moratoriums lapse saw a COVID-19 incidence rate that was 1.6 times higher than states that kept a moratorium in place.
All North Carolinians should get the latest information on COVID-19 directly from reliable sources. The COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a flood of misinformation from unreliable sources. Be thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus and make sure you are separating rumor from fact before you act. COVID-19 information from across state government, including information about unemployment, can be found at www.nc.gov/covid19.
State of NC Launches New COVID-19 Web Portal
The State of North Carolina has launched a new COVID-19 web portal at nc.gov/covid19 in an effort to gather all the COVID-19 related information from a wide range of State agencies. The existing DHHS site at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus will remain, and its content is accessible from the new site.