North Carolina has moved into Phase 2.5 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s plans to reopen. During this phase, the Stay-at-Home order has been lifted, but some restrictions are still in place for residents and businesses.
Phase 2.5 began at 5 p.m. on Sept. 4, and it will run until at least Oct. 2.
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 May 8, the Governor’s phased approach to easing restrictions of travel, business operations and gatherings went into effect with Phase 1. On May 22, the Governor’s approach to easing restrictions lifted the stay-at-home order and entered Phase 2 of reopening.
On Sept. 4, Gov. Cooper further eased restrictions by moving North Carolina to Phase 2.5.
Under the current order:
- Restaurants can reopen dining rooms at 50% capacity. All staff must wear face coverings and practice strict cleaning procedures.
- Personal care businesses, including barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons and massage therapists, must also operate at 50 percent capacity. These businesses must be by appointment only.
- Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, dance halls and other entertainment facilities must remain closed.
- Gyms, health clubs and other fitness facilities may reopen at 30% capacity. Facilities are required to follow a number of safety protocols.
- Pools may reopen at 50% capacity.
- Museums and aquariums can reopen at 50% capacity.
- Bowling alleys and skating rinks may open at 30% capacity.
- Overnight and day camps can open with safety rules.
- Playgrounds may be opened. Playgrounds at Wake County Parks will reopen Saturday, Sept. 5, at 8 a.m.
Gatherings of more than 25 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 2 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.
The term "cluster" refers to a situation in which five or more cases have been associated with a location, such as a business. An "outbreak" occurs when two or more cases have been associated with a group living facility, such as a nursing home.
“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
According to the CDC, it may be possible for a person to "get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes."
While anyone can contract COVID-19, adults older than 65, people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women should take extra precautions as they may be at higher risk for developing serious illness associated with the disease.
Some ways to lessen your risk for getting COVID-19 include:
- Staying home and using teleworking technology when possible.
- Washing your hands.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practicing social distancing and staying away from sick people.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Staying home if you’re sick and avoiding close contact with others for three days after symptoms resolve.
Social distancing is a public health strategy that prevents close contact between people with the aim to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Tactics that people can use to support social distancing include maintaining six feet of space between each other when in public and avoiding events with large numbers of people. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that spread is contained as much as possible and there’s less strain on our healthcare system to care for sick people. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19, so fewer people get sick and there’s less strain on our healthcare system. For more information, visit here.
If you have been in close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19, you are a good candidate for our free drive-thru testing.
You should stay home for 14 days, as much as possible, and monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of symptoms and at least three days after symptoms resolve.
Facemasks should be used to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
The state of North Carolina requires face masks in public anytime you are not in a position to stay at least six feet apart.
If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can be tested at one of the testing locations throughout Wake County.
If serious illness develops, call your primary care provider. If you have trouble breathing, call 9-1-1.
The Wake County Animal Center is monitoring how COVID-19 may affect pets, following reports of pets in the U.S. having tested positive for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Routine testing of domestic animals for COVID-19 is not currently recommended.
Until we know more, the CDC recommends pet owners take the following precautions:
- Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
- Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
- Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
If you have symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19, restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
- Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
- Follow general guidelines for staying healthy around animals.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. In rare cases, a strain that infects animals can spread to people. The CDC does not know its exact source, but the coronavirus that caused the current outbreak of COVID-19 is suspected to have originated in animals and spread to people.
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the new coronavirus, according to the CDC. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
Starting Sept. 4, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers may allow for outdoor visitations. To participate, nursing homes must meet several requirements, including, but not limited to:
- Not having a current outbreak;
- Having a testing plan and updated written Infection Control or Preparedness plan for COVID-19; and
- Having adequate personal protective equipment.
Details are outlined in N.C. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen’s Secretarial Order, which remains in effect through Sept. 22.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has posted a guide for individuals and families to avoid spreading COVID-19 within the home. Just like the general public, caretakers and those who share a home with someone in the increased risk group should take steps to limit their exposure to all kinds of contagious diseases, including COVID-19. If people think they’ve contracted COVID-19, they should take steps to avoid spreading the virus to anyone else, including those in their home or care who are in the higher-risk group. The CDC has additional resources for families to avoid spreading the disease among themselves.
If you fall into one of the following categories, you are a good candidate for our free drive-thru testing:
- Have COVID-like symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, loss of smell;
- Have been in close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19;
- Are a healthcare worker or first responder;
- Work in high-risk settings like long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters;
- Are 65 years old or older;
- Have underlying health conditions;
- Are a member of a vulnerable or historically marginalized population;
- Are a front-line worker in a setting where social distancing is difficult; or
- Have attended protests, rallies or other mass gatherings.
If you have symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of symptoms. If you develop serious illness, call your primary care doctor for evaluation. If you experience difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1.
Community spread means that there are COVID-19-positive people who do not know how or where they became infected with the virus.
Now that North Carolina has community transmission of the virus, we have moved to a community-based mitigation strategy, aimed at decreasing the spread, especially among those most at risk of serious illness. In this phase, testing and contact tracing are more focused than in the broad-based containment approach we executed early in the outbreak.
This change in strategy allows us to be more vigilant about conserving resources like personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers and directing testing to those more likely to become seriously ill.
We have set up a few different phone numbers depending on your question. Visit our "Contact" page to get the email address of phone number best-suited for your need.
I’m concerned about kids who don’t have access to nutritional meals now that school is closed. How can I help?
The Wake County Public School System, Wake County and its partners are working together to make sure that food is available to hungry students during these unprecedented times. If you would like to volunteer to support food distribution sites, please complete the Food Security and Access Volunteer Form.
Antibody tests measure proteins called immunoglobulins, that the body produces to help fight off infections. It takes time for our immune systems to make antibodies, which is why the test is done after symptoms go away. The test helps determine if someone had an immune response to COVID-19 but does not tell us if the person has COVID-19 currently.
There is still a lot we don’t know about SarsCoV-2 or COVID-19, including interpretation of Antibody tests. According to the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), there are at least 90 tests on the market, and we don’t yet know which ones are best.
We aren’t sure. Right now, we don’t know enough about the test to determine its accuracy. It’s unknown whether the test can tell the difference between past infections from SARS-CoV-2 and the six other coronaviruses, four of which cause the common cold. It’s important to note that the antibody test is not a replacement for the diagnostic test.
If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, you should:
- Stay away from other people for 10 days after your symptoms begin
- When you no longer have symptoms, you should stay home without fever for three more days
- If you feel you need medical care, call your doctor. If you have trouble breathing, call 9-1-1.
No. According to the World Health Organization, there is currently not enough evidence to tell us that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection. At this point, until testing improves, and we understand more about the virus, everyone is still considered at risk.
This test is done after recovery from COVID-19, to detect an immune response from exposure. However, until the accuracy of the tests can be determined, there’s not much health officials can do with results. At this point, residents and/or providers do not need to report their results to the Wake County Division of Public Health or the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services.
Cautions about the use of antibody results
- The presence of COVID-19 antibodies cannot currently be used to diagnose someone as having COVID-19.
- Positive antibody results cannot tell us with certainty that someone is “immune” to future infection. If protection does exist, we don’t know for how long.
- Positive results cannot certify people as safe to work or travel if they’ve already been sick.
- Positive results cannot tell us with certainty that the antibody detected is specifically due to COVID-19, and not another coronavirus (e.g. common cold).
- Negative results do not rule out the possibility of COVID-19 infection. If you have symptoms of infection, ask your doctor about testing for presence of the virus itself.
Wake Forward is a small business relief program that aims to help small business owners struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners has set aside $5 million in CARES Act funding for this initiative. Of the $5 million, $4 million will fund small business loans, and at least $1 million will fund loans to independent contractors and sole proprietors, such as barbers, hair stylists and massage therapists. Small businesses can apply for two months of lost revenues, up to $50,000.
The program is administered by the NC Rural Economic Development Center Inc.
If your business is in Wake County and you have up to 100 employees, your business may qualify for a Wake Forward loan. Learn more here.
The steps are easy! Just visit our Wake Forward webpage to get started.
I have already applied for the NC Rapid Recovery loan. Do I need to submit another application for Wake Forward?
No. If you have already applied for NC Rapid Recovery you are automatically considered for the Wake Forward program. You can only receive one loan from either program.
No. Businesses can only receive one loan from either NC Rapid Recovery or Wake Forward.