FAQs: Stay at Home Order

Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 121 orders North Carolinians to remain in their homes except for performing essential work and essential activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety purposes. It also restricts travel to essential activities only and limits mass gatherings to no more than 10.

Download the full list of FAQs regarding the NC Stay At Home order


What does "stay at home" mean?

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


What businesses are still open?

Under the Stay At Home order, the following businesses and facilities are permitted 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
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Child care facilities meeting NC Department of Health and Human Services requirements
  • Office supply stores
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Veterinarians and pet supply stores
  • Hotels, airlines, buses, taxis, and rideshare services

In addition, governments, places of worship, media outlets, home-based health care providers, and charitable organizations will be permitted to continue operations. 


Which businesses should be closed?

Non-essential businesses that were closed to the public by March 25 under Gov. Cooper's earlier executive order must remain closed under the Stay At Home order.

Those businesses include:

  • Hair salons and barber shops
  • Nail salons
  • Day spas
  • Gyms and fitness facilities (including yoga and martial arts studios and indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)
  • Movie theaters
  • Skating rinks
  • Bowling alleys
  • Live music venues
  • Indoor/outdoor pools
  • Gaming establishments (including bingo parlors and arcades)

When will the order be lifted?

It is valid through April 29, 2020 but can be revised or extended.


Is it mandatory or just guidance?

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 it be enforced?

Gov. 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.


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.


Can I take my kids to the park?

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.