Statewide ‘stay at home’ order goes into effect for North Carolina

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A “stay at home” order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper for the entire state of North Carolina goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday.

Cooper urged people to start “as soon as you possibly you can.”

The order, an attempt to help combat the spread of COVID-19, will stay in place for 30 days or until it is repealed, replaced or rescinded by another executive order.

“It’s what we have to do to save lives,” Cooper said. “It has the force of law.”

The order directs residents to stay at home unless you need to leave for essentials such as a job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help someone.

The order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs individuals to stay at least 6 feet away from one another. Funerals are permitted to include no more than 50 people while practicing social distancing requirements.


Essential services are allowed to continue under the order, and directs the businesses that do need to stay open to practice strong social distancing requirements.

The order will be enforced by both state and local law enforcement officers.

The order identifies essential businesses as:

  • Businesses that meet social distancing requirements
  • Businesses operating in CISA identified sectors
  • Healthcare and public health operations
  • Human services operations
  • Essential infrastructure operations
  • Essential government operations
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Home improvement, hardware and supplies
  • Critical trades
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies for COVID-19 essential businesses and operations
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Defense and military contractors
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Additional COVID-19 essential retail business

If you do not think your business is included in the essential services list and you feel it should be, you may apply online at the NC Department of Revenue to be designated essential by clicking here. Until your exemption is reviewed, you may operate as long as your business can accommodate social distancing in your workplace.

Frequently asked questions about the order can be found here.

“We must take this step together in spirit,” Cooper said. “Even if you don’t think you have to worry about yourself, consider our nurses, doctors, custodial staff & other hospital workers who will be stretched beyond their capacity if we are unable to slow the spread of this disease.”

At least 763 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in 63 N.C. counties as of Friday afternoon, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

Three N.C. residents have died from complications related to the coronavirus as of Friday. Those residents were a patient from Cabarrus County, a patient from Harnett County and a patient from Johnston County.

The average age for those who tested positive for coronavirus in N.C. is 41 years.

North Carolinians can still call 211 with any questions related to the coronavirus or assistance.

The state-wide order comes just days after certain N.C. counties, including Mecklenburg, Gaston and Cabarrus, issued similar orders for their residents.

Mecklenburg County’s order took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday and will run through April 16.

Mecklenburg’s proclamation allows residents to go to the grocery store, go to restaurants for takeout, and go outside to “be in nature for exercise," among several other things.

READ THE MECKLENBURG COUNTY ORDER: Mecklenburg County Stay at Home Order

Those with questions about the Mecklenburg County order can call a county hotline for more information: 704-353-1926.

Cabarrus County’s order took effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The proclamation requires residents to remain in their homes, limit travel outside the home beyond handling specific essential needs and limits mass gatherings to groups of 10 or fewer.

The proclamation coincides with the NCDHHS announcement that a person from Cabarrus County died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus.

READ THE CABARRUS COUNTY ORDER: Cabarrus County Stay at Home Order

For more information on the Stay at Home Proclamation, visit

Gaston County’s order went into effect Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. and will extend until April 16. Officials say the decision came after the county received word from CaroMont Health that the hospital had identified the first case of community spread.

Gaston County officials are creating a “Stay at Home Community Hotline” at 704-866-3170 for anyone who has questions about order.

READ THE GASTON COUNTY ORDER: Gaston County Stay at Home Order

In North Carolina, more than 1,167 people had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday morning.

Gov. Cooper also previously issued an executive order that closes bars and restaurants to dine-in customers. The order unlocked unemployment benefits for those who lost, or lose, their job during the coronavirus outbreak.

Public schools in the state will remain closed through May 15


Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the virus as a “cruel and contagious sickness,” after North Carolina announced its first coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, March 25.

The first person, from Cabarrus County and in their late seventies, died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus. The patient had several underlying medical conditions.

The second death was a Harnett County patient in their late thirties who had an underlying medical condition, NCDHHS said on March 26.

The third death was a patient from Johnston County. The patient, who was in their mid-sixties and had underlying medical conditions, also died on March 26.

A fourth person who was traveling through North Carolina also died from COVID-19 complications. Since the patient, identified as 66-year-old Landon Spradlin, was from Virginia, his death is not counted in N.C.'s total.

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