Communities and Events


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. Also issued was a Secretarial Directive telling North Carolinians to stay home except for essential activities and avoid gathering, especially indoors, with people who do not live with you.

Executive Order 180 included additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement. In indoor gyms and fitness facilities, face coverings are now required when people are exercising. 

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.

Which gatherings or other events are subject to the 10-person indoor Mass Gathering Limit?

  • Indoor in-home gatherings
  • Indoor in-home social events
  • All other indoor gatherings not otherwise exempted from the Executive Order

Which gatherings or other events are not subject to the 10-person indoor Mass Gathering Limit?

  • Worship, religious, spiritual gatherings, wedding ceremonies, funeral services, and other First Amendment activities
  • Gatherings for work or for receiving governmental services
  • Gatherings at places that are subject to other capacity limits stated in the Executive Orders. These include fitness and exercise facilities, restaurants, personal care businesses, museums and aquariums, movie theaters, hotels, conference centers, and reception venues.
  • Normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and shopping centers.
  • Families of more than 10 people who reside together.

Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may continue to operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, such as arenas or amphitheaters, may continue to operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity – or 100 guests, whichever is less. 

Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about mass gatherings or community events.

Community and Faith-Based Organizations

Community- and faith-based organizations, whose members may include high-risk populations, should plan for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their local communities.

The mass gathering limit and other requirements do not apply to worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights. Individuals are encouraged to follow the 3 Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. Read the guidance for places of worship and religious services and learn more from the CDC about ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Interested in hosting a testing event?

NCDHHS released a Partner COVID-19 Testing Toolkit designed for organizations seeking to host community testing events. The comprehensive toolkit comes in response to widespread interest among North Carolina organizations such as community-based organizations, churches and nonprofits. Read the toolkit in English and Spanish.

Materials to share with your communities

NCDHHS has two public outreach campaigns: “Prevent and Protect” and “Whatever Your Reason” ("Cualquiera que sea tu razón"). Review this guide which outlines each campaign's materials.