Durham Stay At Home Order

State of North Carolina Issues Safer-At Home Order 2.5: Updated September 1

On September 1st, Governor Ray Cooper announced via Executive Order 163 that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2.5 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions that were first instituted in March. This new phase further eases some restrictions beginning on Friday, September 4th at 5 pm. The order is effective until October 2, 2020 at 5 pm.

Major Elements Included in Safer At Home Phase 2.5

  • Mass gathering limits will be increased to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
  • Playgrounds will be allowed to open.
  • Museums and aquariums can open at 50% capacity.
  • Fitness and competitive physical activity facilities can open at 30% capacity.
  • All employers in North Carolina are strongly encouraged to provide face coverings to their employees. 

The following restrictions will remain the same under Phase 2.5

  •  Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, amusement parks, dance halls, and other entertainment facilities will remain closed.
  • Restaurants remain subject to capacity limits and other requirements for in-person dining.
  • Personal care businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, barber shops and more remain subject to capacity limits and other requirements.
  • Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits.
  • Wedding receptions and other private events remain subject to the mass gathering limits.
  • Face coverings are still required in public. 

In addition, the 11 pm curfew on sale of alcoholic drinks has been extended to October 2, 2020 by Executive Order No. 162. 

View Executive Order No. 163

Read the Press Release Announcing Safer At Home 2.5

View FAQs about Phase 2.5

Durham Announces New City-County Safer At Home Order: Updated June 1

UPDATE: City and County Officials announced plans to transition the community to a Safer-At-Home Order effective June 1 at 8 a.m. The updated order closely aligns with the state order and allows more businesses to re-open. 

  • Durham’s Safer- At- Home Order allows breweries, taprooms, distilleries, etc. to operate just as restaurants are by adhering to the 50% capacity and other requirements noted.  
  • Personal care businesses such as salons and barbershops will also open at 8 a.m. on June 1.
  • Private pools will open on the first day of June as well.

View the new Safer-at-Home Order (PDF)  |  To learn more, read the full press release.

View Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 141

State of North Carolina Safer At Home Order: Updated May 20

On May 5th, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.  The order is in effect beginning at 5 pm on Friday, May 22. The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26. 

Major Elements Included in Safer At Home Phase 2

  • Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible. 
  • Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches. 
  • Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys. 
  • Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings. 
  • Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level. 
  • Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

View Executive Order No. 141
View the Graphs and Slides from the Phase 2 conference
View FAQs about Phase 2
Read the DHHS Guidance for Various Sectors

Latest Update: April 3

The City of Durham and Durham County Governments have combined and amended their Stay-At-Home Orders effective April 4 at 5 p.m. for all residents to further help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Specific provisions of the combined and amended Order are as follows:

  • Reduces the number of people who can gather in public or private to five, down from 10 in the previous Order.
  • Clarifies questions from realtors by continuing to allow virtual showings only, but no in-person showings as strongly recommended by the Director of the Durham County Department of Public Health.
  • Bans all sports which involve shared equipment including tennis.
  • Requires social distancing and sanitation practices in all retail stores that remain open because they are essential. All stores are required to do their best to protect their workers and customers through social distancing and sanitation rules and practices. This will be enforced by the Durham Police Department and the Durham County Office of the Sheriff.
  • Farmers markets may operate by pickup and delivery only.
  • Any businesses providing services in a residential setting shall have their employees wear a mask covering the mouth and nose.
  • Community fitness centers in subdivisions and in apartment buildings must be closed.

View New Combined City-County Stay At Home Order  | View in Spanish  |  View a screen readable PDF 

COVID-19 Overview Page

About the Order

In light of growing concerns regarding COVID-19, Mayor Steve Schewel has issued a Stay-at-Home Order for all city residents to further help stop the spread of this virus. Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m., this order requires all city residents to remain in their homes until April 30, 2020 days as part of an attempt to reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections in Durham. 

The goal of the order is to ensure the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.  

The order goes into effect on March 26, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m. and is valid through April 30, 2020, but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and can be revised, amended, or extended based on recommendations from the Durham County Public Health Department and/or Durham City-County Emergency Management Department.  

View Stay-at-Home Order FAQs | View this alert in Spanish (PDF) 

Small Business Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What activities and businesses/travel are considered essential? 

Activities that are considered essential: 

  • For health and safety 
  • To get necessary supplies and services 
  • For outdoor activities (walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, using greenways) 
  • For work for essential businesses/operations 
  • To take care of others 

Businesses and types of work that are considered essential: 

  • All business, industry, work, and service sectors identified as “critical infrastructure” by the Cybersecurity Infrastructure & Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security in the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued on March 19, 2020. (https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19
  • Healthcare, public health, law enforcement, public safety and first responders 
  • Food, beverages, and agriculture (manufacturing, production, processing, cultivation including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, distribution of animals and good for consumption, providing food, shelter, and other necessities for animals) 
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine 
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services (businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations including food banks, when providing food and shelter, social services, and other necessities for life for economically disadvantaged or needy individuals, individuals who need assistance, and people with disabilities). 
  • Energy 
  • Water and wastewater 
  • Transportation and logistics 
  • Public works 
  • Communication and information technology 
  • Media 
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation (gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities) 
  • Financial institutions (banks, currency exchange, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and future exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products) 
  • Hardware and supply stores 
  • Critical trades (building and construction – plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses) 
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services (post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels) 
  • Laundry services 
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises (in-house delivery, third-party deliver, drive- through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out) 
  • Supplies to work from home 
  • Supplies for essential businesses and operations (see #14 in the order for details
  • Transportation (airlines, taxis, public transportation, vehicle rental, logistics) 
  • Home-based care and services (home-based care for adults, seniors, children, people with disabilities) 
  • Residential facilities and shelters 
  • Professional services (legal, accounting, insurance, real estate, restricted to appraisal and title services) 
  • Childcare centers (for specific employees – first responders, healthcare workers, public health, etc.) 
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain (see #20 for details
  • Hotels and motels 
  • Funeral services 
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions including human services 
  • Other community-based human service operations 
  • Critical manufacturing 
  • Hazardous materials 

What does this mean for non-essential businesses?

Non-essential business and operations must cease – all businesses and operations in the City of Durham, except essential businesses and operations, are to cease all activities within the city limits except minimum basic operations. Businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home). 

What are minimum basic operations? 

The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll, and employee benefits, or for related functions. 

The minimum necessary activities to facilitate the employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences. 

What is Vendor Re-entry? How can we apply to be on the list?

Vendor Re-Entry is a program of the North Carolina Emergency Management’s Business Emergency Operations Center. Traditionally, Vendor Re-Entry is applied to a hurricane situation in which a mandatory evacuation order or curfew has been executed at a County or Municipal level. County Emergency Management then determines which vendors are exempt from travel restrictions and allowed re-entry into the evacuated area or who can break curfew for business purposes. 

Brick & mortar businesses in Durham County can apply for inclusion in the Vendor Re-Entry database. Learn more about the current process for reentry registration, and to be apply for inclusion on the list.

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is and is not allowed?


  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store 
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities 
  • Visit a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first) 
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru 
  • Care for or support a friend or family member 
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise – just keep at least six feet between you and others 
  • Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian, if necessary 
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies 
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers 


  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order 
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need 
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out 
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites 
  • Travel except for essential travel and activities 

What is the difference between “stay-at-home” and “social distancing”? 

Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing. Stay at home means: 

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others) 
  • Only go out for essential services 
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from others 
  • Don’t gather in groups 

I live outside of Durham County. How does this affect me?

If you work in those areas of the City of Durham that also lie within Durham County, then your business/employer must comply with this order. You are allowed to travel through the City of Durham and conduct essential activities within the City of Durham and to return home. 

What is considered essential travel?

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, or minimum basic operations. 
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons 
  • Travel to or from education institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services 
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction 
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement 
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside Durham County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of Durham County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel 

Am I allowed to travel? 

You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities 

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

Yes – but maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others. 

What are the requirements for social distancing?

Required measures include: 

  • Designate 6 foot distances 
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products 
  • Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations 
  • Online and remote access 

Can I get arrested for violating this order?

The Durham Police Department (DPD) is continuing to enforce the order through education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary cooperation from all residents and businesses. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved DPD is equipped to enforce these restrictions through criminal charges. Any person violating any prohibition or restriction imposed by this order shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor in accordance with G.S. 14-288.20A. 

How do I report a violation of this order? 

Call the Durham Emergency Communications Center non-emergency phone number at 919- 560-4600. 

I live in (Rougemont/Bahama/Research Triangle Park, etc.) – does this order apply to me? 

No – this order applies to all residents who live within those portions of the City of Durham that are also located within Durham County. Note that Durham County government may enact a Stay-at-Home Order which may further impact Durham County residents. Also, residents and businesses and other operations that are located in those portions of the City of Durham which lie in a county other than Durham County (e.g. Wake County, Orange County) are not covered by this Order. 

Does this order apply to the homeless? 

No – homeless are exempt from this restriction, but are urged to find shelter. 

The order says I am allowed to go outside – can I take my children to parks/amusement centers?

All places of public amusement where people may gather, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, recreation centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, and country clubs or social clubs are closed to the public. 

Can I visit a loved one in a hospital/nursing home/etc.?

Owners, administrators, operators, staff, contractors, and volunteers of nursing homes, long-term care and assisted living facilities are prohibited from allowing a person to enter the facility and visit a resident unless each of the following criteria are met: 

  1. the visitor is an adult; 
  2. the resident has not already had a visitor that day; and 
  3. the visit takes place in the resident’s room. 

This prohibition does not apply to end-of-life situations.  

Where can I stay up-to-date on any changes and news about City of Durham operations, services, and programs due to COVID-19?

View the FAQs in a PDF document.