Stay at Home

North Carolina is under a "Safer at Home" recommendation to slow the spread of COVID-19. Phase 2.5, which began Friday, September 4th 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 September 4th:

English, Spanish, Chinese 

Following the lead of the state, Orange County will move into what Governor Roy Cooper termed “Phase 2.5” of the statewide reopening plan with a few notable exceptions. 

The limit on mass gatherings in Orange County will remain at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. The state’s executive order has increased the limits to 25 indoors and 50 outdoors. According to county health officials, the issue will be reconsidered when the county’s positivity rate for COVID tests reaches 5 percent. It is currently at almost 10 percent, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

Orange County’s prohibition on alcohol sales will now end at 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. to align with the state. And visitation for Nursing Homes will now be allowed outdoors under some circumstances. The continued use of technology to keep families connected as much as possible is still highly encouraged. However, to balance the needs of families and residents to see each other in person with the need to protect residents from COVID-19, this Order outlines strict criteria for allowing outdoor visitation. Current data indicate that risk of transmission in outdoor settings is lower compared to indoor settings. 

The state also lowered the age requirement for mask wearing to include children down to age 5. Previously children 11 and younger were exempt from this requirement.

More information is available in the tabs below.  

Phase 2-5 Changes

  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 strongly recommends 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 maintains a limit of 10 people for mass gatherings indoors but exempts worship services, spiritual gatherings, weddings and funerals. The limit on mass gatherings is expanded to 25 for outdoor gatherings. Physical distancing requirements remain in place.

Bars, bowling alleys, movie theaters, gyms, exercise facilities, museums, nightclubs and other locations must remain closed. However, gyms may conduct outdoor activities in groups of 25 or smaller while meeting the physical distancing requirements.

The order allows indoor and outdoor swimming pools to open, with capacity restrictions, and provides guidance for day and overnight summer camps.

The order allows public parks and trails to open and that individual groups cannot exceed the limit of 25 for outdoor mass gatherings. Playgrounds remain closed, including those in public