North Carolina Updates
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response in North Carolina (NCDHHS)
This NC DHHS website has the state’s most current information and guidance, including a section for business and employers.
On Thursday, July 29, 2021, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 224, announced that state government would begin verifying vaccination status of its workers. Employees not vaccinated are required to wear a mask and be tested at least once a week.
On Friday, May 14, 2021, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 215 removing most of the state’s masking requirements, capacity requirements, and social distancing rules. The NC Chamber wrote a Chamber Update in response to this executive order outlining what the order does and business implications to consider.
On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 209 removing the outdoor face covering requirement, relaxing restrictions on social gatherings, and extending the capacity and social distancing measures of Executive Order 204.
On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 195 lifting the Modified Stay at Home Order and easing certain restrictions on businesses and gatherings. The order increases the mass gathering limit for indoor gatherings, increases the capacity limits for certain businesses, and permits alcohol sales for on-site consumption until 11 p.m. Learn more
On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 181 implementing a temporary night-time public closure period on certain businesses and a modified “Stay at Home” order on all North Carolinians during overnight hours.
On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 163 moving North Carolina into Phase 2.5 of reopening. The move reduces restrictions on economic and social activity, enabling gyms, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor playgrounds, and other indoor exercise facilities to open at 30% capacity and allowing museums to operate at 50% capacity. In addition, the upper limits on indoor and outdoor mass gatherings have been raised; up to 25 people will now be allowed to gather indoors, while up to 50 may gather outdoors. Under the new order, masks will now be required in public for anyone age 5 or older, rather than the age 11 or older requirement that was previously in effect.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina would continue in Phase 2 of reopening into early September. As part of this, many businesses will remain closed, including bars and night clubs, indoor gyms, and entertainment venues. Additionally, restaurants will continue operating at 50% capacity, outdoor gatherings should be kept to 25 or fewer people, and indoor gatherings should be kept to 10 or fewer.
On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina would stay in Phase 2 of reopening for at least three more weeks, extending his previously issued Executive Order No. 147 (see below).
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 147, effective Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m. The order extends Phase 2 of reopening for another three weeks, preventing any new businesses from opening, and also requires all individuals in North Carolina to wear face coverings when in public and unable to practice physical distancing from others. The order is effective until Friday, July 17 at 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 141, lifting North Carolina’s stay-at-home order but moving the state into a modified version of Phase 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan.
On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 138, modifying North Carolina’s statewide order effective Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m and extending until Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. The modified order effectively moves the state into Phase 1 of the Governor’s reopening plan and eases a number of restrictions on business operations, travel, and mass gatherings across North Carolina.
On April 24, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Learn more.
On April 23, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 135 extending North Carolina’s Stay-At-Home order through May 8. Governor Cooper also shared details about North Carolina’s plan to lift restrictions in three phases once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction. Learn more.
On April 9, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 131, outlining additional requirements for social distancing at retailers. The NC Chamber encourages statewide uniformity with this order.
On April 1, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 125, authorizing and encouraging remote shareholder meetings during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
On March 31, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 124, prohibiting utilities – including electric, gas, water and wastewater services – from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment. The order applies for the next 60 days and gives residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills.
On March 27, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a statewide Stay-at-Home Order beginning Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m., continuing until Wednesday, April 29. The executive order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others.
On March 23, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order closing all K-12 public schools statewide through May 15, banning mass gatherings of more than 50 people, and closing some businesses, specifically those in which social distancing is nearly impossible, such as personal care and grooming businesses.
On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses suffering economic losses due to COVID-19. Learn more. N.C. District of the U.S. Small Business Administration Director Thomas Stith III discussed some of the specifics here.
On March 17, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits. To learn more about what the unemployment insurance changes mean to your business, including detail on the provision that employers will not be responsible for benefits paid as a result of the coronavirus, click here for recommendations from CAI.
On March 16, 2020, NC DHHS officially recommended against mass gatherings of more than 50 people. Learn more.
On March 14, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order closing all K-12 public schools in North Carolina, starting on March 16, for a minimum of two weeks. The order also prohibits mass gatherings of more than 100 people. Learn more.
On March 10, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The declaration activates the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate from one location and makes it easier to purchase needed medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and increase county health departments’ access to state funds. In addition to Governor Cooper’s emergency declaration, the NC DHHS is making several recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of people infected. Learn more.
On March 3, 2020, North Carolina reported its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. COVID-19 is currently not widespread and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing timely updates on our state’s status. Learn more.