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North Carolina Under Stay-At-Home Order Due To COVID-19 Outbreak


Effective March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., and remaining in effect for 30 days, all North Carolina residents are ordered to “stay home” and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Pursuant to Executive Order 121, Governor Roy Cooper ordered all North Carolinians to stay at home unless performing an “essential activity.” The Order remains in effect until the governor terminates it by subsequent executive action. [Ed. Note: The order has been extended to May 8, 2020.]

What Is An Essential Activity?

The Order permits North Carolinians to leave home to engage in essential activities.  Essential activities include:

What Does This Mean For Essential Businesses?

Essential employers may continue to operate. Under Executive Order 121, the following businesses, industries, and workers are essential:

Social Distancing

All businesses should maintain social distancing requirements, including (1) maintaining six feet in between people; (2) appropriately washing hand and using sanitizer; (3) regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; and (4) facilitating online or remote access by customers, if possible.

What Does This Mean For Non-Essential Businesses?

All non-essential businesses must temporarily cease operations, except to conduct “minimum basic operations” to:

Large Gatherings       

All gatherings that bring together 10 or more people are prohibited.  This does not include transportation hubs, such as airports, or bus or train stations.  Likewise, medical facilities, libraries and shopping malls are exempted.  Funerals are limited to fifty persons, while enforcing social distancing requirements, to the extent possible. 

Effect On Local Orders

Localities are still permitted to implement more restrictive measures than the State.


We will continue to monitor this rapidly developing situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ alert system to gather the most up-to-date information. For further information or advice on how to satisfy notice requirements as an employer, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney, any attorney in our Charlotte office, or any member of our COVID-19 Taskforce. You can also review our Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus or our FP COVID-19 Resource Center.

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific state law. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.


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