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Wake County FAQs

Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 195 to begin carefully easing some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. It will expire March 26th at 5 pm.

Masks in public remain mandatory. The curfew was ended. The number of people who may gather indoors increased to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved to 11 p.m. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.

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.

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.

READ MORE Frequently Asked Questions about the Latest Restrictions

As of May 1, Wake County has been following the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper. For more information, call the state’s hotline at 2-1-1 or consult its frequently asked questions.

On Dec. 11, Gov. Cooper implemented a modified “Stay at Home” order on all North Carolinians during overnight hours to address the current spike in COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations.

Under the current order:

  • Certain businesses and facilities are ordered to close to the public between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This includes restaurants (with exceptions for take-out and delivery), bars, entertainment venues, parks, museums and aquariums, certain retail establishments and other businesses and facilities specified in the order.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Gatherings of more than 10 people in a single indoor space remains prohibited. In outdoor spaces, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.

Yes. Residential and commercial construction and landscaping are essential services.

The mass gathering limit and other requirements of Phase 3 do not apply to worship, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. Read more information here.

Yes, but attendees should maintain social distancing. Funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries and providers of mortuary services are essential services.

Public and private gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited outdoors. However, spending time outdoors and exercising are important for maintaining physical and mental health. While private sporting facilities are closed, we encourage families to take advantage of public recreation areas for activities that allow proper social distancing. For instance, basketball and soccer games are off limits because everyone touches the same ball and players come into close contact. Families may play golf or tennis, provided facilities are open and social distancing is practiced at all times.

The Governor's safer-at-home order applies to the entire state of North Carolina, including all areas of Wake County. 

The restrictions do not apply to people experiencing homelessness. We urge them to find shelter and practice social distancing as much as possible. If you or someone you know needs help, call Oak City Cares at 984-344-9599.

Teleworking is being strongly encouraged. If you believe your business should be closed, but you are still being asked to show up to work, you should discuss it with your employer.

GoTriangle is continuing to update its bus and shuttle services in response to COVID-19. Changes affect the routes run by GoRaleigh, GoCary and GoWake Access, as well as routes that run beyond Wake County. Riders may call 919-485-RIDE for information.

Yes, on June 24, Gov. Cooper issued a statewide face mask order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. This order states that people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible.  In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings.

Read the full text of Executive Order 147 for details, including exceptions to the mandate.

Wake County’s goal is to get everyone vaccinated as quickly, safely and equitably as possible.

Everyone 16 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina.

At this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for those under 18 years old, but Wake County Public Health's appointment system allows for 16- and 17-year-olds to choose locations where Pfizer is being offered.

Click here to make an appointment or call our Vaccine Hotline at 919-250-1515.

Wake County Public Health is one of many providers in Wake County receiving shipments of the vaccine. Find a vaccination location near you at NC Vaccine Finder.

All providers are working closely together to vaccinate the public against COVID-19 and help keep our community healthy and safe.

Anyone 16 and older can make an appointment with our online vaccine request form or by calling call the vaccine hotline at 919-250-1515.

The vaccine alone won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 right away. Still, it's a major breakthrough in preventing serious illness from COVID-19 and needs to be used in combination with other prevention methods. 

These vaccines have been proven to effectively prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. However, it’s still possible that some vaccinated people could get infected without developing symptoms. This means people who are vaccinated could silently be spreading the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.  

When in public, people need to continue to practice the 3Ws – wear a mask, wait at least 6 feet away, and wash your hands frequently.  

It is important to remember that children up to age 16 cannot be vaccinated and are still at risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can: 

  • Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. 
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household unless any of those people have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. For example, you can visit unvaccinated relatives who all live together or an unvaccinated friend without a mask. If any of the people you are visiting has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and are not vaccinated, wear a mask. 

If you’ve been around or exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. 

Even when you are fully vaccinated, you should: 

  • Wear a mask in public. 
  • Stay socially distant, at least 6 feet, from unvaccinated people at high-risk for COVID-19. 
  • Practice good hand sanitation. 
  • Keep your indoor gatherings small – 2 total households. 
  • Avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • Delay domestic and international travel. 

You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. 

We learn more about how long vaccination protection lasts and as more people become protected through vaccination over time.  It's estimated at 70-85% of people will need to receive a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Some people are reporting temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection, tiredness, or feeling bad for a day or two. These are normal symptoms and are a sign of a proper immune response, similar to those experienced when receiving other routine vaccinations. These routine reactions typically last no longer than a day and a half. You cannot become infected with COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Please consult your primary care physician if you have any concerns about the way you’re feeling after vaccination. Click here for more information.

Wake County Public Health is using all the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public. Your vaccine provider will tell you what vaccine you are receiving and will let you know when and how to schedule our follow-up appointment.

All vaccines have shown to be safe and effective in preventing death and serious illness due to COVID-19. It is important that citizens do not "shop" for their preferred vaccine. All the vaccines have shown to be highly effective in reducing death and serious hospitalization from COVID-19.

The goal of using all vaccines available is to increase vaccination rates so our community can stop the spread of COVID-19 and get back to life.

It is important that people do not mix vaccine brands for their first and second shots. Receiving the second shot of the same vaccine as your first shot is critical in achieving the vaccine's total protection.

Doses Needed for Full Coverage

Vaccine Brand Doses Needed Days Until 2nd Dose
Pfizer 2 doses 21 days
Moderna 2 doses 28 days
Johnson & Johnson 1 dose No 2nd dose required

It is important that people do not mix vaccine brands for their first and second shots. Receiving the second shot of the same vaccine as your first shot is critical in achieving the vaccine's total protection. Your vaccine provider will help you determine if you need a second dose and how/when to come back to get full protection.

Yes, Wake County Public Health does allow you to see the expected brand of vaccine that will be offered at each site when you're making an appointment.

It is important that citizens do not "shop" for their preferred vaccine. All the approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in reducing death and serious hospitalization from COVID-19.

Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing Death and Serious Illness

VACCINE BRAND EFFICACY AFTER FULL VACCINATION
Pfizer 95% effective
Moderna 94.1% effective
Johnson & Johnson 81.7% effective

The most common side effects being injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and fever. Side effects are more common after the second dose, especially for younger adults.

It is important that people do not mix vaccine brands for their first and second shots. Receiving the second shot of the same vaccine as your first shot is critical in achieving the vaccine's total protection. Your vaccine provider will help you determine if you need a second dose and how/when to come back to get full protection.

Everyone who is vaccinated will still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and frequent hand sanitation until most Wake county is vaccinated.

The goal of using all vaccines available is to increase vaccination rates so our community can stop the spread of COVID-19 and get back to life.

The COVID-19 vaccines are shown to be safe and effective. While these vaccines were developed quickly, they were built upon years of work in developing vaccines for similar viruses. To test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, more than 100,000 people participated in clinical trials. To date, those vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no serious safety concerns. Read more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

This video was prepared for our Wake County EMS staff, who would become some of the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine shipment sent to the county. Many said hearing this information was extremely helpful in deciding whether to get the shot. Watch for yourself:

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not you have health insurance. The federal government is purchasing the vaccines. Just like Wake County Public Health continues offering no-cost COVID-19 testing, we will be working to make sure everyone has equal access to the vaccine as well. Because the vaccine supply is expected to be so limited at first, Wake County Public Health may be months away from offering any public vaccine clinics.

Yes, you should get vaccinated whether you've had COVID-19 or not.

Sometimes after being infected by a virus, your body builds up a “natural immunity” by making its own antibodies. But right now, there’s not enough information available to confidently say if being infected with COVID-19 creates any protection from getting it again. Early evidence suggests that natural immunity to COVID-19 may not last very long, so that's why it's recommended that everyone get a vaccine, even if you've tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered.

If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

It is safe to get vaccinated if you have been infected in the past. Additional information can be found here for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant women can talk with their doctors before making the choice. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before you get your vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding may also choose to get vaccinated. The vaccine is not thought to be a risk to a baby who is breastfeeding. Additional information can be found here.

Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is only available as a shot. Talk to a doctor, nurse or medical professional about your fear of needles. Many people report being afraid of needles, but they weigh the benefits of feeling that brief prick against getting sick if they contract COVID-19. When you get vaccinated, it not only protects you, it protects our community by breaking the chain of infection that COVID-19 relies on to spread.

Children will not receive COVID-19 vaccines until clinical trials are completed to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID illness in children. The Pfizer vaccine can be given to teenagers 16 years old and up at this time. Additional studies are underway for children 12-16.

Mutations in viruses, including the coronavirus which is causing the COVID-19 pandemic, are neither new nor unexpected. There are several additional strains and there will likely be more as this pandemic progresses. The more people infected by COVID-19, the more chances there are for mutations to occur. That's why getting vaccinated and following the 3Ws continue to be our best defense against exposure, infection, and the evolution of new strains.

Our state has increased the number of specimens it regularly submits to the CDC for genetic sequencing, which detects new strains and vaccine sensitivity. The vaccine manufacturers are testing their vaccines against the new strains and will develop new boosters as needed. Currently, no new boosters are needed.

Visit the Vaccine page for more information.