COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Information For Citizens & Visitors to North Carolina

May 20, 2020 Update

As Key Indicators Remain Stable, North Carolina Moves to Safer At Home Phase 2
Phase 2, Safer At Home, begins Friday, May 22 at 5 pm

Bars, indoor entertainment venues, gyms, and public playgrounds remain closed; Restaurants, personal care businesses, and pools open with limitations & safety requirements

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

“North Carolina is using the data to guide our decisions about when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, and overall our key indicators remain stable,” said Governor Cooper. “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.”
“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen.

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?

Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.

Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.

Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys.

Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings.

Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level.
Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.

north carolina covid phase 2 plan

May 15, 2020 Update

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance today on who should be tested for COVID-19

The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected. It also ensures the following populations have access to testing, regardless of symptoms:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of  COVID-19
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms 
  • Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
  • Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
  • Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
  • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
  • Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain

"We want anyone who needs a test to get one. This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. 

Testing, along with contact tracing and supplies of personal protective equipment, is part of the state’s strategy to slowly ease restrictions, while protecting North Carolinians from COVID-19. The state is looking at a composite of metrics to guide its path forward, including the number of cases, the percent of tests that are positive, the number of hospitalizations and the number of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness. Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Cohen shared these metrics remain stable for the first week of Phase 1. 

The new guidance updates testing criteria for the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. Those include hospitalized patients, health care workers or first responders, persons who live in or have regular contact with a high-risk setting, persons who are at higher risk of severe illness and for whom a clinician has determined that results would inform clinical management, and uninsured patients.

Staying home is still the best way to continue to slow the spread of  COVID-19  and protect North Carolinians. When going out, remember the 3 Ws. Wear a face covering. Wait at least six feet apart. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

May 15, 2020 Update

NCDHHS COVID-19 Testing Sites

Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen also announced that DHHS now has a list of testing locations on the  DHHS website. The list includes more than 200 sample collection sites in 54 counties, with more being added as they are verified. The list is comprised of health care providers, pharmacies and retail locations, local health departments and others that are providing testing for COVID-19. Some of the sites that are federally funded do not cost anything for the individual being tested. Doctors and clinicians may also provide testing at their offices.

May 06, 2020 Update

North Carolina's Phased Reopening Plan

PHASE 1 (Goes Into Effect Friday, May 8 at 5:00 pm):

  • Modify the Stay At Home order allow travel not currently defined as essential allowing people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to be open, such as clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware stores and other retailers.
  • Ensure that any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation
  • Continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people
  • Reopen parks that have been closed subject to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.
  • Continue to recommend face coverings in public spaces when 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible
  • Encourage employers to continue teleworking policies
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings
  • Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures may remain in place.

    PHASE 2 - At least 2-3 weeks after Phase 1

  • Lift Stay At Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home to stay safe
  • Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses that can follow safety protocols including the potential need to reduce capacity
  • Allow gathering at places such as houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity
    Increase in number of people allowed at gatherings
  • Open public playgrounds
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings

    PHASE 3 - At least 4-6 weeks after Phase 2


  • Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations with encouragement to continue practicing physical distancing and minimizing exposure to settings where distancing isn’t possible
  • Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues
  • Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Friday, April 24, that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

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