Governor Roy Cooper has announced the entire state of North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 through Friday, Dec. 11, at the earliest. The indoor mass gathering limit is 10 people, and face coverings will now be required indoors if there are non-household members present, regardless of the distance away.

The at-risk population is still safer at home under Phase 3, and face coverings continue to be required in public outdoor settings if unable to maintain 6 feet of distance with non-household members. This requirement includes all employees and customers of retail businesses, restaurants and personal care businesses. Exceptions include people with medical conditions, children under 5, and people who are walking or exercising alone outside (although masks are still encouraged, depending on the strenuousness of the activity).

Phase 3 allows restaurants, museums, aquariums, animal parks and swimming pools to remain open with limited capacity. Bars, large and small outdoor venues, and entertainment venues such as theaters and amusement parks can remain open with limited capacity. Gatherings are generally limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

If traveling, individuals are encouraged to check with local governments to determine whether additional limitations are still in place (e.g., visitor centers), and to contact lodging establishments directly for their most up-to-date information. Current destinations with various limitations in place can be found here. Please use your best judgment if traveling, and practice good hygiene while avoiding close contact with others.

North Carolinians and out-of-state visitors are also encouraged to download SlowCOVIDNC, an exposure notification app that alerts users when they may have had an unknown community exposure. The app does not collect any personally identifiable information.

If exploring outside, please follow the Outdoor NC and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics’ recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus so we can continue to enjoy nature responsibly.

More information about local restaurant resources specific to North Carolina destinations can be found via their local tourism organization, which can be found here. Visit Count On Me NC to see a list of businesses – restaurants, lodging, attractions and others – that have completed the Count On Me NC training, as these businesses are making a concerted effort to help keep everyone safe and healthy. As a guest, you can take your own pledge, too, to show you’re doing your part.

For more information on North Carolina relating to coronavirus, visitors can go to the website for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.