Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday, February 24 that with the improvement of COVID numbers in North Carolin and the continued increase in vaccine distribution, the state will begin easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 195 will take effect Friday, February 26th at 5 pm and will remain in effect until March 26th at 5 pm.
Executive Order 195 lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors has increased from 10 to 25. The 50-person outdoor gathering limit remains unchanged. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm.
Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors with new occupancy restrictions. Venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.
30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
- Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
- Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
- Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
- Movie Theatres
- Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
- Sports Arenas and Fields*
*Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit
- Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
- Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
- Museums and Aquariums
- Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
- Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors
Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.