Stay at Home

North Carolina is under a "Safer at Home" recommendation to slow the spread of COVID-19. Phase 3, which began Friday, October 2nd at 5 p.m. continues the “Safer At Home” recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. See the Press Release issued on October 2nd:

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Following the lead of the state, Orange County will move into what Governor Roy Cooper termed “Phase 3” of the statewide reopening plan. 

The order allows bars, movie theaters and outdoor venues, among others, to open with capacity limits, allows K-5 schools to reopen under the state’s Plan A option and limits mass gatherings to 10 people indoors and 50 outdoors.

As of December 11, 2020 the order was modified to require restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. and for on-site alcohol sales to end at 9 p.m. Exempted are 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.

By aligning with the state plan, the county’s stricter limit on mass gatherings is lifted. State limits of 10 people indoors and 50 outdoors will be in effect until further notice. 

The state’s Plan A for schools continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but it does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. The school systems across Orange County will determine when to reopen their kindergarten-fifth grade classrooms and under which plan. 

People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those who are at risk are safer at home, and those who have contact with others at risk need to use caution when out.

More information is available in the tabs below.  

  1. Key Points
  2. Easing of Restrictions
  3. Business Guidance
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. NC Order Documents


The state stay at home order is intended to slow transmission of the virus, prevent overwhelming local hospitals and keep first responders safe.

Face Coverings in Public

The state’s executive order 147 requires (with few exceptions) that people wear a cloth face covering on the nose and mouth when they leave home and may be within six feet of other people who are not household and family members. This would include indoor community, public, and business settings. These coverings function to protect other people more than the wearer. Face coverings should also be worn outdoors when you cannot stay at least six feet away from other people. 

Some populations experience increased anxiety and fear of bias and being profiled if wearing face coverings in public spaces, but everyone should adhere to this guidance without fear of profiling or bias. If someone is the target of ethnic or racial intimidation as the result of adhering to the protective nose and mouth covering guidance or as a result of the pandemic, they are encouraged to report the matter to local law enforcement agencies. 

Mass Gatherings

The Executive Order 176 limits 10 people for mass gatherings indoors but exempts worship services, spiritual gatherings, weddings and funerals. The limit on mass gatherings is expanded to 50 for outdoor gatherings. Physical distancing requirements remain in place.