Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order No. 141

Easing Restrictions on Travel, Business Operations, and Mass Gatherings: Phase 2

On May 20, 2020 Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 141, which moves North Carolina into Phase 2 of the statewide reopening plan. This Order lifts certain restrictions on travel, business operations, and mass gatherings. This Order goes into effect on May 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and remains in effect through 5:00 p.m. on June 26, 2020 unless repealed, replaced, or rescinded by another Executive Order. 


What does Phase 2 mean?  

It means the Governor’s stay-at-home order is no longer in effect, although people are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings, practice physical distancing (maintaining at least six feet apart from others), and wash their hands. 

Also, high-risk individuals are urged to stay at home and conduct essential travel only. The CDC defines high-risk individuals as: 

  • people 65 years or older, 
  • people who are immunocompromised, and 
  • people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, such as: chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, or liver disease.


What does Phase 2 allow?

Phase 2 allows: 

  • Restaurants to open for on-site dining with occupancy limits, adherence to specific hygiene requirements, and establishment of six feet between each group of seated customers per table;
  • Child care facilities to open as long as they follow state health guidelines;
  • Overnight camps to operate as long as specific public health requirements and guidance is followed; 
  • Retail businesses can operate, but they must do so under certain restrictions;
  • Personal care, grooming, massage, and tattoo businesses to open as long as they adhere to specific hygiene requirements, require service providers to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance (six feet apart) between customers; and operate at 50% reduced occupancy. 
  • Indoor and outdoor pools to open with 50% reduced occupancy, and adherence to specific public health requirements; 
  • People to gather for social purposes as long as groups do not exceed mass gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors; and
  • Sporting and entertainment events to occur in large venues, with spectators allowed as long as they observe the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 


What remains closed?


  • Public playgrounds;
  • Bars and nightclubs;
  • Entertainment venues such as: movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades, and skating rinks;
  • Bingo parlors and other gaming establishments; and


  • Indoor facilities such as: gyms, fitness studios, martial arts facilities, dance studios, trampoline and rock-climbing facilities, roller skating rinks, ice-staking rinks, and basketball courts.


Are houses of worship allowed to hold services in Phase 2?

Yes. The mass gathering limit and other requirements in this order do not apply to worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies. 


Are weddings and funerals allowed to be held in Phase 2?

Yes. Even though there is no mass gathering cap on the people who may attend a wedding or funeral ceremony, receptions or visitations before or after weddings and funerals are subject to mass gathering limits. 


Can I visit someone in a long-term care facility?

Visitors and non-essential health care personnel are not allowed inside long-term care facilities, with the exception of certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life scenario.

Long term care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, family care homes, mental health group homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. 


How long will this Order be in place?

The Order goes into effect Friday, May 22 at 5:00 pm and will remain in place through 5:00 pm on June 26, 2020 unless repealed, replaced, or rescinded by another Executive Order.  


How will the Order be enforced?

The provisions of this Executive Order will be enforced by state and local law enforcement officers. Violation of this Order may be subject to prosecution pursuant to N.C.G.S. 166A-1 9.30(d) and is punishable by a Class 2 misdemeanor.