North Carolina Governor Lifts Mass Gathering and Social Distancing Limits and Most Mask Mandates

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 215 lifting mass gathering and social distancing limits and most mask mandate restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The new Order is effective on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. and extends through 5 p.m. on June 11, 2021.

What are some notable changes under the Order?

  • Face covering requirements are lifted in most settings.
  • Capacity restrictions are lifted in all settings.
  • Social distancing requirements have been lifted in most settings.

What remains the same?

  • People can continue to wear face coverings, which are recommended for unvaccinated people and for all people in large venues. Employers, business owners, and local governments may require face coverings and social distancing. For employers considering no longer requiring face coverings for employees, we’ve put together some points for you to consider at this link.
  • Indoor face covering requirements from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) also still apply to schools, child care facilities, children’s day or overnight camps, certain health care settings like long term care centers, public or private transportation regulated by the state of North Carolina and North Carolina airports, bus and train stations or stops, prisons, and establishments that are providing shelter to people experiencing homelessness. Additional social distancing and safety restrictions in these particular settings are outlined in NC DHHS guidance and will remain in place.
  • Local governments can implement stricter COVID-19 face covering, capacity and social distancing requirements.

Some Notable FAQs

FAQs for the new Executive Order may be accessed here.

The FAQs provide information on a number of topics including businesses, bars, sports, concerts, and outdoor events.

If you have questions, please contact Alex Elkan or Ed Turlington.

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