COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Information For Citizens & Visitors to North Carolina

January 06 - Governor Extends Modified Stay at Home Order Through January 29

» Read Executive Order 188

January 06 - NCDHHS Issues Secretarial Directive with Immediate Actions to Protect North Carolinians

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today issued a Secretarial Directive telling North Carolinians to stay home except for essential activities and avoid gathering, especially indoors, with people who do not live with you.

The directive comes as the state reports 84 counties as red in the COVID-19 County Alert System released today, meaning most of the state has critical levels of viral spread. North Carolina also has experienced record high numbers on key metrics in recent weeks, including its highest number since the start of the pandemic of cases reported each day, the percent of tests that are positive and people hospitalized with COVID-19.

“There is an alarming amount of virus everywhere in our state. We are in a very dangerous position,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Every single North Carolinian needs to take immediate action to save lives and protect themselves and each other.”

Today’s directive outlines immediate actions North Carolinians must take to save lives, slow the spread of the virus and protect hospital capacity across North Carolina to ensure medical care is available to anyone who may need it, whether for COVID-19 or for any other reason.

The directive aligns with recent recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the Governor’s Executive Orders on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 County Alert System for North Carolina. North Carolinians are directed to:

Only leave home for essential activities such as going to work or school, for health care purposes, to care for family members or to buy food.
Avoid leaving home if you are over 65 or at high risk for developing serious illness. Use delivery services or alternative pick-up methods for food and retail.

  • Avoid gathering with people who do not live with you.
  • Wear a mask and keep distance from people when you leave home.
  • Avoid any indoor public spaces where people are not wearing masks.
  • Stay away from crowds. Avoid places where people may gather in large numbers.

As recommended by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to North Carolina, the directive also says that if you have gathered with people who do not live with you, assume that you became infected with the virus and get tested for COVID-19. People should also get tested if they have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

COVID-19 is highly contagious, and more than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness. Studies are also finding that some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.

North Carolina's statewide mask requirement and Modified Stay at Home Order are in effect. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, have capacity limits and are required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.

For more information on the Secretarial Directive, read the Frequently Asked Questions.

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.

» Read Executive Order 183

December 08 - Governor Announces Executive Order 181 - Modified Stay at Home Early Closure Order beginning 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 11 through January 08, 2021

» Read Executive Order 181 | » Read FAQs | » Read All Executive Orders

With Key Metrics Increasing Rapidly, North Carolina to Begin Modified Stay at Home Order to Slow COVID-19 Spread

Order will require people to stay at home from 10 pm to 5 am with certain businesses required to be closed during those hours

More than 80 percent of NC counties now in the red or orange categories

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021. 

“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.” 
The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document. 

In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%. 

Governor Cooper was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols. 

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19  County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.

“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Major Changes with the Executive Order

Certain businesses and facilities are ordered to close to the public between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Night-Time Public Closure Period”). This includes restaurants (with exceptions for take-out and delivery, as noted below), bars, entertainment venues, parks, museums and aquariums, certain retail establishments, and other businesses and facilities specified below and in the Order.

  • All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home or the place they will remain for the night between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Stay at Home Period”), unless an exception applies.
  • The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Events or convenings outside of the home must end by 10:00 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel home or to the place where they will stay for the night.
  • The capacity limitations on certain businesses, indoor and outdoor gathering limits, and other public health measures implemented by previous executive orders are extended through January 8, 2021.


What remains the same under this Order?

  • The gathering limits remain at ten (10) individuals for indoor settings and fifty (50) individuals for outdoor settings.
  • The limitations on certain businesses, sanitation standards, and other public health restrictions outlined in the Phase 3 Executive Order and NCDHHS Guidance remain in effect.
  • A face covering is still required in all public indoor settings if there are nonhousehold members present, regardless of the individual’s ability to maintain social distance. Face coverings continue to be required in public outdoor settings if individuals are unable to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members.
  • Retail business locations with more than 15,000 square feet of interior space must continue to have a worker at each entrance open to the public, who is responsible for enforcing the executive orders’ face covering and capacity limitations.


Temporary Night-Time Public Closure Period

This Order temporarily requires certain businesses to close their premises to the public from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., during the Night-Time Public Closure Period. Establishments may remain open during those hours for workers, and may otherwise conduct their business and operations, as long as no guests are admitted onto the premises.

Establishments that are subject to this Order include: amusement parks and amusement transportation; bars, lounges, indoor venues, and arenas; fitness and physical activity facilities, movie theaters, meeting spaces, and other entertainment facilities; museums and aquariums; parks; personal care businesses; restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries; and certain retail businesses.

Exceptions to the Night-Time Public Closure Period
Retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, health care supplies, and fuel may remain open between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Service at restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries may continue for take-out and delivery after 10:00 p.m.

covid 19 prevention

State of North Carolina COVID-19 Latest Information

December 30

  • 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.

» VISIT NEW NORTH CAROLINA COVID-19 WEB PORTAL
» NCDHHS (North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services) Coronavirus Information