Businesses and Employers

Executive Order 188 extends the modified Stay at Home Order until at least January 29, requiring people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The modified Stay at Home order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted.

Executive Order 180 included additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement.

Executive Order 176 lowered the indoor mass gathering limit for social gatherings to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics. The Order does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that have already been outlined in Executive Order 169.

What remains the same under Phase 3?

  • The outdoor mass gathering limit remains at 50.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, such as arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 

Guidance and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my employer force me to work?

Can my employer force me to work?

Businesses and employers are encouraged to use teleworking technology to the greatest extent possible. Employees should work with their employer to determine how they can best minimize risk of illness. This might include staying home when you are sick, using a staggered work schedule, and rearranging the workspace to increase space between coworkers. 

Does an employee need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work?

Does an employee need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work?

Employers should not require documentation of a negative test before allowing an employee to return to work.

Someone can end self-isolation and return to normal activities when you can answer YES to ALL of the following questions:

  • Has it been at least 10 days since your symptoms started?
  • Has it been 24 hours since you last had fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications?
  • Have your symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, improved?

Read more about next steps to take when you are waiting for a test result, receive a positive test or a negative test.