North Carolina’s indoor mass gathering limit will be lowered to 10 people again, effective at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. Anyone planning to gather with non-household members for Thanksgiving should start a 14-day quarantine today, Nov. 12, to lower the risk of transmitting COVID-19 at the gathering.
The state executive order, No. 176, will be in place through 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Orange County has amended its emergency declaration to follow current and future state executive orders related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The county declaration is in effect through Dec. 31.
The reduction in the indoor gathering limit is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. North Carolina’s trajectory of confirmed cases is increasing, the percent of positive tests is above 5%, and the number of hospitalizations across the state is high. Increases in cases have been connected to social gatherings. The outdoor gathering limit remains at 50 people.
Quarantine before gathering
The best way to reduce viral transmission during the holidays is to limit travel and physical contact with people who do not live in your household.
If planning to gather with other households for Thanksgiving regardless, all parties should quarantine for 14 days prior to the event to avoid contracting the virus and then transmitting it at the event. To quarantine, stay home and avoid contact with anyone outside your household. The day before the event, screen for symptoms and stay home from the event or cancel the event if not feeling well.
Additional measures for gathering
Outdoor activities are preferred over indoor because it is easier to stay apart and there is more wind and air to help reduce the spread of the virus.
When gathering with anyone outside your household, use the 3Ws, which are especially important if getting together with anyone at high risk of complications from COVID-19:
- Wear a face covering.
- Wait 6 feet apart or maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
- Wash hands well.
“Remember, it’s not how well you know someone when it comes to wearing a mask,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “If they don’t live with you, get behind the mask.”
See guidance from the state for fall events and private social gatherings.