Stay at Home Order FAQs

Stay At Home FAQsPreguntas frequentes en Español aqui.

Below are frequently asked questions about the Governor’s statewide modified “Stay at Home” Order.

Additional Resources:

The Governor’s modified “Stay at Home” order implements a statewide curfew, asking that you stay home to keep yourself and others safe between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am daily.

In recent weeks, North Carolina has experienced record highs in the daily COVID-19 case count, hospitalizations, and deaths. There has also been a significant and sustained increase in the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests and emergency room visits for COVID-19-associated symptoms. The measures in this order are necessary to save lives and preserve health care system capacity and health care resources for the critically ill.

The Governor’s order still requires wearing a face covering in all indoor and outdoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, whether public or private. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

It’s still important to stay home if you are sick. High-risk individuals are urged to stay at home and travel only for absolutely essential purposes.

Phase 3 began Friday, October 2, 2020, and has been extended through the modified “Stay at Home” order through January 29, 2021, unless changed or canceled.

Under this order:

  • Certain businesses and facilities are ordered to close to the public between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
    • This includes:
      • Restaurants (with exceptions for take-out and delivery)
      • Bars
      • Entertainment venues
      • Parks
      • Museums and aquariums
      • Certain retail establishments
      • Other businesses and facilities specified in the order.
    • Retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, health care supplies, and fuel may remain open between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
    • Service at restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries may continue for take-out and delivery after 10 p.m.
    • This order only requires closure to the public during the night-time closure period. Workers may remain on-premise at the business to conduct necessary operations. During that time, businesses and facilities must still adhere to the applicable public health restrictions in the order, including the face covering requirement.
  • All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home or the place they will remain for the night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless an exception applies.
  • The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Events or convenings outside of the home must end by 10 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel home or to the place where they will stay for the night.
  • The capacity limitations on certain businesses, indoor and outdoor gathering limits, and other public health measures implemented by previous executive orders are extended through Jan. 8, 2021.

Retail businesses that sell groceries, medication, health care supplies, and fuel may remain open between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Service at restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries may continue for take-out and delivery after 10 p.m.

Individuals may leave home during the Stay at Home Period to:

  • Travel to or from a place of work
  • Perform work at their workplace when the worker’s presence is required by the worker’s employer
  • Travel for work purposes
  • Obtain food, medical care, fuel, or social services
  • Travel from a business that closed at or after 10 p.m.
  • Travel to a business that will open at 5 a.m.
  • Travel to take care of a family member, friend, or pet in another household
  • Travel to or from a religious service
  • Travel necessary for personal safety
  • Travel into or out of the state

The modified “Stay at Home” order still limits or restricts the following:

  • Face coverings are required in all public indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of the distance away.
  • Face coverings are required in public outdoor settings if individuals are unable to maintain six feet of social distance with non-household members.
  • In indoor gyms and fitness facilities, face coverings are required when people are exercising.
  • In restaurants, guests are required to wear face coverings at their table unless they are actively eating or drinking.
  • Retail business locations with more than 15,000 square feet of interior space must have a worker, at each entrance open to the public, who is responsible for enforcing the executive orders’ face covering and emergency maximum occupancy requirements.
  • On public transportation, Customers may be denied entry if they refuse to wear a face covering.
  • The executive order’s face covering requirements are now enforceable by law enforcement against individuals. Under previous executive orders, face covering requirements were enforceable only against businesses or organizations that failed to enforce the requirement to wear face coverings. Law enforcement continues to have this authority under this Order.
  • Allows social indoor gatherings up to 10 people and outdoor gatherings up to 50 people, while following physical distancing and the mask mandate.
  • Allows bars to reopen for outdoor service only at the lesser of 30% capacity or 100 people. Indoor bars and night clubs remain closed.
  • Allows meeting spaces and event venues to reopen at the lesser of 30% capacity or 100 people with safety protocols in place
  • Allows large outdoor venues (10,000 or more in seating capacity) to reopen at 7% capacity with safety protocols in place
  • Allows movie theaters to reopen at the lesser of 30% capacity or 100 people with safety protocols in place
  • Museums, aquariums, restaurants, gyms, indoor fitness facilities, and personal care businesses remain subject to capacity limits, safety protocols, and additional guidelines outlined in Phase 2.5
  • Teleworking is encouraged
  • Physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other methods to slow the spread of COVID-19 should be practiced, including staying at least six feet apart
  • Open retail businesses must meet certain requirements to ensure the safety of their employees and customers
  • Indoor visitation at nursing homes will only be permitted in facilities with no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and in counties with a percent positive testing rate of less than 10%

The Governor’s extended Safer at Home requires people to wear face coverings while out in public.

This applies to individuals, workers, customers, and patrons in:

  • Indoor and outdoor public spaces
  • Retail businesses
  • Gyms & indoor fitness facilities
  • Restaurants, bars & breweries
  • Movie theaters
  • Outdoor amusement parks
  • Indoor and outdoor venues or meeting spaces
  • Personal care, grooming, and tattoo businesses
  • Public parks and playgrounds
  • Child care facilities, day camps, and overnight camps
  • Government & private offices
  • Museums & aquariums
  • Public transportation, including taxis and ride-sharing services
  • Manufacturing and construction settings
  • Migrant farm or other farm settings
  • Meat or poultry processing plants
  • Long-term care facilities

There are some exceptions where face coverings are not required, as listed below:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • Those with medical or behavioral disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face covering
  • While alone at home, in a personal vehicle, or in your private office
  • While inside your home or another person’s home
  • While around members of your immediate household
  • For participation in a religious ritual
  • While actively eating or drinking
  • While swimming
  • While actively communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired
  • When giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
  • When wearing a mask is an immediate safety risk, either by workplace safety guidelines or when it impedes visibility in operating a car or equipment
  • Temporarily for identification purposes at a government or medical facility

If you cannot afford or don’t have access to a face covering, you can use household items like a scarf, bandana, or t-shirt to make one. Learn how to sew or make your own non-sewn face covering here.

Some employers and establishments may provide you with a temporary face covering, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Cloth face coverings should be washed daily, either in a washing machine with hot water and detergent or by hand. It can be included with your regular laundry. Remember to take in account the cloth used in your mask for proper drying and laundering methods.

Cloth face coverings can be washed by hand by soaking in a bleach solution, with instructions outlined by the CDC here.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and municipal Police Departments are enforcing all orders.

Citations will be assessed to businesses and organizations that fail to enforce required face coverings for employees and patrons. Individuals in a business or organization that refuse to comply with curfew/face covering requirements or to leave the establishment may be found in violation of trespassing laws.

Residents who wish to report noncompliance with orders should contact their local municipal law enforcement agency. Remember that 911 should not be called for these violations. 911 should only be called in emergency situations.

Yes, New Hanover County has developed an overview for safe reopening, and you can view that document here.

In conjunction with this resource, the county’s Public Health team is also offering expertise to restaurants, businesses, and organizations to talk through individual processes and safety measures. Business owners can access that resource by calling the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800. If needed, the Public Health team can also deploy to meet with restaurants or businesses on site (maintaining all protective measures), to talk through processes that facilitate cleanliness and physical distancing.

Additional resources have been developed by the local, state, and national organizations, including:

New Hanover County Libraries, Cape Fear Museum, Airlie Gardens, the Arboretum, parks, Splashpad at Long Leaf Park, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, walking trails, park preserves, skate park, bike park, and open spaces are open and available to use.

All county libraries and indoor attractions will follow state orders, with everyone expected to wear a mask and will only allow up to 50 percent capacity. All outdoor attractions will follow state orders, with everyone expected to wear a mask and allow up to 50 people per mass gathering limits.

New Hanover County Libraries are open for modified services Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Library services available include browsing and check-out, picking up holds, 60-minute computer sessions and curbside pick-up services. Interactive play items will not be available in children’s rooms and Story Places and Makerspaces will be closed. Storytimes will continue online. Modifications will be in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, including sanitation stations throughout the buildings, social distancing markers, no seating except for the computer stations, and no meeting room access.

The Cape Fear Museum will reopen on Tuesday, September 8, resuming regular hours of Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors can expect routine cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day, and temporary closure of some exhibit areas that don’t allow for social distancing or are high-touch areas.

The Order imposes three additional classes of rules for retailers:

Emergency Maximum Occupancy – Retailers are now limited to fifty percent (50%) of the stated fire capacity. Retailers must abide by and enforce this maximum and place notice of the Emergency Maximum Capacity in a conspicuous place.

Physical-Distancing Markings – Retailers must now mark six foot (6′) spacing at cash-register lines and in other “high-traffic areas for customers” inside the establishment. The Order doesn’t define high-traffic areas, but it lists deli counters and areas near high-volume products as examples.  Retailers who have met or expect to meet or exceed their Emergency Maximum Occupancy, must mark six foot (6′) spaces in a designated line outside their establishment.

Cleaning and Disinfecting – The Order mandates frequent and routine cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas utilizing a disinfectant approved by the EPA for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The Order does not define “frequent” or “routine.”

Yes. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach are open. In addition, Masonboro Island is open. Requirements for mask usage, physical distancing practices, and limits on mass gatherings are still in effect.

As with anywhere you go, physical distancing is required. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Yes, public and private boat ramps and marinas in New Hanover County are open. This includes boat docks and wet slips. Please follow these recommendations:

  • Maintain distance at boat ramps or fuel docks
  • Avoid using boat ramp docks while other people are on them
  • Do not have anyone other than immediate family on your boat
  • Do not tie up/raft up to other boats- keep your distance on the water
  • Do not congregate on any sandbar or island

Kayaks, paddle boards and other non-motorized boats are still permitted to launch from public or private boat ramps.

Hotels, motels, and short-term rentals are no longer restricted by the county and are open for business.

People can and should leave their homes to receive medical care.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, first call ahead to your physician or the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800 to help determine if you need to seek medical care.

If you feel unsafe in your home, please seek out a local shelter.

Local shelters are allowed to remain open within the Order. If you are experiencing abuse or are in danger, resources are available to you through the New Hanover Disaster Coalition.

Yes, county parks, the SplashPad at Long Leaf Park, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, walking trails, parks preserves, skate park, bike park, and open spaces are open and available to use. All county playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment will be subject to frequent cleaning in accordance with the Governor’s Order.

There should be no more than 50 people congregating outdoors or engaging in activity per the Governor’s order.

As with anywhere you go, physical distancing is required. Adults & children ages 5 and older are required to wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible and are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Yes.

Religious functions, funerals, and weddings may continue with no restrictions on the number of people who may attend.

Venues may host receptions or visitations before or after weddings and funerals are subject to the occupancy limit of the lesser of 30% capacity or 100 people. Facilities are discouraged from hosting standing receptions or cocktail hours, and state guidance is that all guests must remain seated.

Individuals are required to wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible and are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815
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