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Gov. Cooper issues stay-at-home order for all NC, starts Monday

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RALEIGH — The state of North Carolina will be under a stay-at-home order beginning 5 p.m. Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday afternoon.

The order will prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, Cooper said.

“Even if you don’t think you need to worry about yourself, consider our nurses, doctors, custodial staff and other hospital workers who will be stretched beyond their capacity if we are unable to control the spread of this disease,” Cooper said. “Because no one is immune and there’s no vaccination, the best tool we have to slow the spread is keeping our physical distance and staying home.”

The state order, which will be in effect for 30 days, asks everyone stay home who is able to do so. Exceptions are made for essentials, such as work, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to provide care for a family member, friend or animal who lives somewhere else. All nonessential facilities, services, operations and retail businesses must close.

The order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least 6 feet away from each other.

Violating the order is a misdemeanor.

In cases where the state and local orders differ, the more restrictive order applies, Cooper said. Wake County’s stay-at-home order bans all gatherings.

“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously. We must take this step together in spirit,” he said. “Being apart from family and friends is difficult. The sounds of our lives — the school bell or the half-time buzzer — they’re gone. Losing your job or closing your business has to be painful. But we have to act now in the safest, smartest way when we have the chance to save lives. This is truly a matter of life and death.”

Currently, North Carolina has confirmed 763 cases in 60 counties across the state. Three deaths have occurred: one in Cabarrus County, one in Johnston County and one of a Virginia-resident travelling through the state. 

Wake County has 121 total confirmed cases, Franklin County has five, and Granville County has three. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers North Carolina to have widespread transmission of COVID-19, which means some people who tested positive do not know how they got it, according to Cooper.

Between Feb. 12 and March 16, 20-30% of people across the nation who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized with 4-11% needing intensive care, according to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We are all in this together, and in order to protect the health of North Carolinians and get through this crisis as quickly as possible, we must all do our part to contain community spread over the next several weeks," U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said in a statement. "I’ve had discussions with Gov. Cooper about the challenge of protecting both the physical and economic health of the state, and the Governor made the difficult, but correct decision to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

“I’m glad this order allows essential industries to continue their important work while also providing flexibility to North Carolina businesses that are able to practice social distancing and maintain a safe and healthy work environment to protect their employees and the general public.”

Stay updated

In Wake County, email questions to or call 919-856-7044.

Visit for frequently asked questions and resources in English and Spanish.

N.C. 2-1-1 is a free service that refers callers to the organizations in their local community to address specific health and human services needs. Dial 211 on a mobile phone or call 1-888-892-1162.