Gov. Roy Cooper delivers a briefing on North Carolina’s coronavirus pandemic.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced he is scaling back some of the COVID-19 restrictions across North Carolina, as coronavirus numbers continue to improve.

Cooper said the modified stay-at-home order is no longer in effect, meaning the curfew has been eliminated. The mandatory mask mandate will be left in place. Bars will be allowed to open again with a 30 percent capacity, for the first time since the pandemic restrictions were put in place.

“Despite these grim statistics, we have reason for hope in North Carolina,” Cooper said. “Fewer people are getting sick. Fewer are needing a hospital. All the metrics that we measure continue to stabilize.”

Many businesses are going to be able to open at 50 percent occupancy now, including restaurants, breweries, retail, gyms, barbers and salons, and others. Outdoor bars and sports venues will no longer have a 100 person cap. Indoor bars and movie theaters and sports arenas can open at 30 percent capacity, with a cap of 250 people. Alcohol sales will now stop at 11 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

Mass gathering limits will be increased to 25 people indoors, and 50 people outdoors, the most since the middle of last year, since COVID-19 restrictions began in North Carolina.

“After alarmingly high numbers throughout the winter holidays, North Carolina’s trends have declined and stabilized,” Cooper said. “Hospitalizations have dropped to their lowest point since before Thanksgiving. The percent of tests returning positive continues to decline. This is encouraging.

“When it comes to easing some restrictions, we’re depending on people to be responsible. The mandatory mask mandate won’t change. As more people gather together it’ll be important to social distance. These proven safety protocols are vital as COVID19 is infecting people every day.”

From the Governor’s Office:

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.

30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)

  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields*
  • Venues*

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit

  • Restaurants
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors


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Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.

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