Breaking News
More () »

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issues statewide 'stay-at-home' order

North Carolina joins a list of at least 24 other states with similar orders.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolinians will need to stay at home, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday.

A statewide North Carolina stay-at-home proclamation will order residents to suspend all unnecessary travel.

"I know this order may lead to more hardship and heartache," Cooper said.

Essential services, such as grocery stores and medical services, will reopen open and stay operational.

Cooper noted that three North Carolinians have died due to COVID-19 and the state has 763 confirmed cases of the virus in 60 counties. He called on all North Carolinians to protect themselves by staying home and following social distancing guidelines. North Carolina is considered to have widespread transmission of the virus, which means people who have tested positive cannot trace where they were exposed to the virus.

"We are also working to prepare for the surge of patients expected at our hospitals. We are identifying facilities that can serve as overflow for our hospitals, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping prepare facilities," said Michael Sprayberry, the director of the North Carolina Emergency Management. "Businesses should review the executive order and the FAQ document carefully to determine whether they may continue operations. "In cases where a local order and the state order differ, the more restrictive requirement will apply. "

In a joint statement, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Cone Health, Atrium Health, and CaroMont Health showed they were in favor of the order.

"Novant Health supports stay-at-home orders across North Carolina. In order to flatten the curve in a way that does not overwhelm our hospitals, this action is necessary.  COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the state, and without an order to stay home, our front line medical care teams are at risk. Our system simply cannot support the surge of critical patients should the virus reach levels seen elsewhere. The safety of our patients, team members, and the communities we serve are at risk without an immediate change in behaviors to reduce the spread of the virus. While difficult, this order will help to preserve critical supplies and ensure we can care for the most vulnerable when they need us most. Once stay-in-home has passed, Novant Health is committed to working with county, state, and national leaders to help our communities restore to good health and prosperity."

Stay-a-home orders went into effect this week across the Triad.

RELATED: Where you can and can’t go under the stay-at-home order

RELATED: 911 system overwhelmed by stay-at-home order calls, Forsyth Co. Sheriff says

RELATED: Stay-at-home orders issued for Greensboro, High Point, Guilford County

North Carolina joins a list of at least 24 other states with similar orders.

These orders are not lockdowns, and federal law allows each state or city to decide its own rules when mandating residents stay home.

RELATED: These states have issued stay-at-home orders. What does that mean?

Shelter-in-place vs stay-at-home: What's the difference?

A stay-at-home order is different than a shelter-in-place.

A stay-at-home order is a stern form of social distancing. While it can be enforced by law enforcement, officials said officers will exercise educating the public and fining or charging people in extreme cases.

Stay-at-home order FAQ

This order permits the following businesses to remain open:

  •  Restaurants that provide take-out, drive-thru, or delivery
  • Grocery stores
  • ABC stores and beer and wine stores 
  • Doctors and other healthcare providers
  • Pharmacies
  • Hardware stores
  • Post offices
  • Office supply stores 
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Veterinarians and pet supply stores
  • Hotels, airlines, buses, taxis, and rideshare services
  • Places of worship 
  • Child care providers (that are following the required NCDHHS procedures)

What does “Stay at Home” mean?

It means people should stay at their residence and limit social interactions and travel for essential activities or essential business purposes.

When does the Order take effect?

The Order takes effect on Monday, March 30 at 5:00 PM.

When will this Order be lifted?

This Order is valid for 30 days through April 29, 2020 but can be revised or extended.

Is this executive order mandatory or is it just guidance?

This order is mandatory. All persons and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the order.

How will this executive order be enforced?

Governor Cooper is seeking voluntary cooperation from all state residents and businesses to ensure the health and safety of our communities. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the Order.

Various local counties and cities have issued their own shelter in place orders. 

How do the state and local orders correlate with one another?

People in North Carolina must abide by this statewide Order. To the extent that a local order contains more restrictive requirements, the more restrictive local order must be followed.

Can I leave my home to visit friends or family members?

Individuals may leave their homes to care for a family member or friend, or to help their family member or friend get essential goods or receive necessary health care. Individuals should not visit with friends or family members if there is no urgent need.

What if I require medical attention?

Individuals may leave their homes to receive necessary medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow guidance provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. If you have mild symptoms, stay home and call your doctor.

Can I leave my home to exercise?

People are encouraged to maintain healthy lifestyles, including outdoor recreational activity, such as walking pets and jogging. While exercising, individuals should maintain social distancing and continue to take protective measures to maintain their personal health and wellbeing.

Does this Order prohibit outside group exercise?

As long as the group abides by the mass gatherings provision in the Order (no more than 10 people) and maintains adequate social distancing, this activity is not prohibited, but it is strongly discouraged.

What if my home is not a safe environment?

Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternate location, which can include a hotel or shelter.

Can I take my kids to the park?

Unless your local jurisdiction has closed parks, people may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas while following social distancing and mass gathering guidelines. Public playgrounds and their equipment are closed for use statewide.

Are the entertainment, personal care, and grooming businesses that are closed under executive order 120 supposed to remain closed?

Businesses prohibited from operating under executive order 120 shall remain closed.

What businesses may remain open?

Essential businesses as defined in the Order may remain open. Other non-essential businesses must remain closed unless permitted by the Secretary of Revenue.

Establishments required to close under previous executive orders must remain closed.

Does my business need any documentation to continue operating?

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations that are deemed essential as defined by the order do not need any documentation from the state to continue operations. Employees are not required to have specific documentation to report to work under this order.

What if my business is not listed as essential and I cannot conduct business operations and maintain social distancing between employees?

If your business is not included in the list of Essential Businesses and Operations and you believe it is essential, you can submit an application to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR). NCDOR will review applications to determine whether the business is necessary to properly respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. NCDOR will post on its website a point of contact and procedures for businesses seeking an essential designation.

What if my business does not fall within an exception and must close?

Businesses that are required to cease all activities are still allowed to continue minimum basic operations. These operations include activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’s inventory; preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment; ensure security; process payroll and employee benefits, or related functions; and, activities to support employees who are working remotely. However, employees must comply with social distancing requirements, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations.

If my business was previously required to close under an executive order or a local stay-at-home order, are there any circumstances under this order that would allow me to re-open?


Does this Order prohibit operations of child care centers and other child care providers?

No. Although child care providers are urged to remain open for first responders and essential employees, they are also open to the general public. All open child care providers must follow the NCDHHS emergency child care operations and financing guidance.

Are religious functions allowed?

Religious gatherings are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people. Participants should practice social distancing.

Are weddings allowed?

Weddings are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people.

Participants should practice social distancing.

Are funerals allowed?

Funerals are time-sensitive events and may not have more than 50 people. Participants should practice social distancing.

Can I still attend religious services?

The order allows individuals to attend their places of worship if they follow the mass gathering ban and do not have more than 10 people assembled. Social distancing should be practiced.

Places of worship are encouraged to stream their services online to accommodate people complying with the order.

Are car dealerships open during the emergency?

Car dealerships, and other places that sell automobiles, are essential businesses that may provide relief for those who have transportation issues during the emergency and are permitted to remain open.

Can I still mail items and get deliveries?

Yes. The postal service and private mail and delivery services are essential businesses and will remain open.

Can I still go to my substance abuse treatment groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) or other group counseling sessions?

Group counseling sessions are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people. Participants attending in person should practice social distancing. Group counseling services are urged to conduct meetings remotely if they are equipped to do so. Groups should make accommodations for remote support to the maximum extent feasible.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility only to obtain health care services and supplies. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, residential care facility or any other long term care facility unless it is an end-of-life visit.

Can I carry out a court-ordered visit with my kids?

Yes. To the extent possible, maintain social distancing with individuals other than your child and limit meetings to places and activities that are permitted under this Order, such as outdoor parks.

What if I still have to go to work?

Businesses have been encouraged to implement remote working policies for their employees. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing to the extent possible.

Where can I report a business that is operating in violation of the order?

Governor Cooper is seeking voluntary cooperation from all state residents and businesses to ensure the health and safety of our communities. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the order.

Are gun stores allowed to operate?

Gun stores implementing social distancing requirements for employees and customers as defined in the order may remain open.

Are golf courses allowed to stay open?

Golf courses implementing social distancing requirements for employees and customers as defined in the order may remain open.

What is the current number of people that can gather under the mass gathering requirements?

A mass gathering is defined as no more than ten (10) people.

What are social distancing requirements?

  • Maintaining at least a six foot distance from other individuals;
  • Washing hands using soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or the use of hand sanitizer;
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
  • Facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible.

Find all these FAQs at nc.gov.


RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: Trump signs $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, issues Defense Production Act for GM ventilators

RELATED: Live Blog: President Trump gives updates regarding stimulus package

RELATED: Coronavirus in North Carolina: County-by-county breakdown of positive cases

RELATED: Stimulus check calculator: See how much you'll likely be getting


Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 2-1-1 or 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.

Stay connected to local, national and breaking news: Download the new WFMY News 2 app. 

Text the keyword APP to 336-379-5775



►For the latest weather conditions and forecast text the keyword WEATHER to 336-379-5775

►For local news stories right to your phone text the keyword NEWS to 336-379-5775

►Need our Call for Action Team? Text keyword CFA to 336-379-5775

►For traffic alerts text the word TRAFFIC to 336-379-5775

Before You Leave, Check This Out