NC Stay at Home Order Extended
Three-Phase Plan for Reopening NC

Today, NC Governor Roy Cooper today issued  Executive Order 135   extending the states’s Stay At Home Order through May 8 . Other Executive Orders extending closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses were also extended through May 8 . The Stay At Home and other Executive Orders were extended because NC has not yet seen a downward trajectory in metrics needed to begin gradually lifting restrictions.  

Governor Cooper shared details about plans to lift restrictions in three phases once data shows that key metrics are headed in the right direction. Last week, Governor Cooper laid out a path forward centered on three key metrics: t esting , tracing , and t rends . Today, Governor Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared more specifics on those key metrics.

A detailed outline of where NC stands on testing, tracing, and trends and more information about the three-phase plan can be found by clicking here .

The metrics that NC is considering aligns with the White House guidance for Opening Up American Again .

In order to begin lifting restrictions, NC needs to see progress in these key metrics:
  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
  • Currently, NC’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing over the last 14 days 

  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
  • Currently, NC’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days cases is still increasing, although at a slower rate

  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
  • Currently, NC’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over the last 14 days is increasing at a slow rate

  • Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
  • Currently, NC’s trajectory of hospitalizations over the last 14 days is largely level with a slight trend upward

In addition to these metrics, the state will continue building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. This includes:

  • Increase in Laboratory Testing 
  • Currently, NC is testing approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people per day and is working to increase to at least 5,000 to 7,000 per day
  • Increase in Tracing Capability
  • Currently, NC has approximately 250 people performing contact tracing across its local health departments and is working to double this workforce to 500
  • Availability of Personal Protective Equipment 
  • The state is working to ensure there are adequate supplies to fulfill requests for critical PPE for at least 30 days. This includes face shields, gloves, gowns, N95 masks, and surgical and procedural masks. Currently the state has less than 30 days supply of gowns and N95 masks. Availability of PPE is calculated based on the average number of requests for the last 14 days compared to the supply that the state has on hand.

Governor Cooper presented information about how NC can gradually re-open over three phases to prevent hot spots of viral spread while also beginning to bring the state's economy back. Please note, these phases are based on the best information available now, but could be altered as new information emerges

Phase 1
  • 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 is not 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
  • 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 is not possible
  • Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worship, and entertainment venues
  • Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings

Governor Cooper and Dr. Cohen both underscored the need for the t esting , t racing , and t rends to move in the right direction for each of these phases to move forward. I f there is a spike in infections, tightening of restrictions may be needed temporarily.

Information about K-12 public schools will follow later this week.

Click here for more information.