North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Tuesday issued Executive Order No. 204 that further eases restrictions in place due to COVID-19, and will go into effect at 5 pm Friday, March 26.

Under the new order, all businesses must continue to maintain the 6 feet of distance requirement between patrons and implement other safety protocols as they expand their capacity. It will increase the indoor mass gathering limit from 25 to 50, and increase from 50 to 100 the outdoor gathering limit.

This Order also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages at bars, restaurants, and other establishments.

Museums and Aquariums, Retail Businesses, Salons, personal care and grooming businesses, tattoo parlors may operate up to 100% capacity, both indoors and outdoors.

Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries, Recreation such as bowling, skating, rock climbing, Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities such as gyms, yoga studios, fitness centers, Pools and Amusement Parks may operate up to 75% capacity indoors, and up to 100% outdoors.

Bars, Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces, Lounges and Night Clubs, Auditoriums, Arenas, and other venues for live performances, Sports Arenas and Fields including professional, collegiate, and amateur, Movie Theaters and Gaming Facilities may operate at up to 50% capacity indoors. Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at 75% capacity outdoors.

Workers, entertainers, athletes, and other support staff do not count towards the capacity limits.

NCDHHS also released updates to the K-12 guidance. Schools should return to in-person instruction to the fullest extent possible while following all public health protocols in the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit. The updated Toolkit no longer requires schools to do daily temperature checks and symptom screenings. Safety protocols such as masks and cleaning of high traffic areas are still required. Schools are also highly encouraged to conduct free screening testing as recommended by the CDC.

You can get more information on the new executive order online at