North Carolina "Stay at Home Order" General FAQs


What does a stay at home order mean?  (Print Copy)

  • It means everyone in the State of North Carolina is required to stay at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive essential services or engage in essential activities and work for essential businesses and government services.
  • It restricts travel upon public streets, alleys, or roadways or other property except by those in need of medical assistance, food or other commodity or service necessary to sustain the well-being of themselves or their families or some member thereof.

What is the purpose/goal of this order?

  • To ensure the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence while enabling essential services to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.

When does this order go into effect and when will this order be lifted?

  • The order goes into effect on March 30, 2020, beginning at 5 p.m. and shall remain in effect through April 29, 2020, unless repealed, replaced or rescinded by another applicable Executive Order. An Executive Order rescinding the Declaration of the State of Emergency will automatically rescind this Order.

Will the town be closing the bridge?

  • There are currently no plans to restrict traffic on or off the island.  This order permits travel in specific circumstances and will permit travel on North Carolina State Highways for that purpose.

How does this order change the previous executive order prohibiting mass gatherings of 100 people or more?

  • Executive Order 117 prohibited gatherings of 100 people or more on public property only.  Executive Order 121 supersedes that section of the Order by significantly expanding the restrictions imposed to prohibit both public and private gatherings of more than 10 people. All other sections of Executive Order 117 remain in effect.

What is allowed?


  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Visit a health care professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise – just keep at least six feet between you and others
  • Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian, if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

What is not allowed?


  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites
  • Travel except for essential travel and activities

What is the difference between “stay-at-home” and “social distancing”?

  • Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing. Stay at home means:

o Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)

o Only go out for essential services

o Stay 6 feet or more away from others

o Don’t gather in groups

What activities are considered essential?

  • Activities that are considered essential:

o For health and safety

o To get necessary supplies and services

o For outdoor activities (walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, using greenways)

o For work for essential businesses/operations

o To take care of others

o Place of worship

o To receive goods and services

o Place of residence

o Volunteering (charitable and social services)

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

  • Yes – but maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others.

What are the requirements for social distancing?

  • Required measures include:

o Designate 6 foot distances

o Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products

o Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations

o Online and remote access

What businesses are considered essential?

  • Businesses and types of work that are considered essential:

o All business, industry, work, and service sectors identified as “critical infrastructure” by the Cybersecurity Infrastructure & Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security in the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued on March 19, 2020. (  The list includes:

  • Healthcare, public health operations
  • Human Services Operations
  • Essential Infrastructure Operations
  • Essential Government Operations
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverages, and agriculture (manufacturing, production, processing, cultivation including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, distribution of animals and good for consumption, providing food, shelter, and other necessities for animals)
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services (businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations including food banks, when providing food and shelter, social services, and other necessities for life for economically disadvantaged or needy individuals, individuals who need assistance, and people with disabilities).
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation (gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities)
  • Financial institutions (banks, currency exchange, consumer lenders, including but not limited, payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and future exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products)
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades (building and construction – plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses)
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services (post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels)
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises (in-house delivery, third-party deliver, drive through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out)
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential businesses and operations
  • Transportation (airlines, taxis, public transportation, vehicle rental, logistics)
  • Home-based care and services (home-based care for adults, seniors, children, people with disabilities)
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services (legal, accounting, insurance, real estate, restricted to appraisal and title services)
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

A detailed list of essential jobs and businesses can also be found in the Governors Executive Order #121 found here:

What does this mean for non-essential businesses?

  • Non-essential business and operations must cease – all businesses and operations in the

Town of Emerald Isle, except essential businesses and operations, are to cease all activities within the town limits except minimum basic operations. Businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).

  • If a business owner believes that they may be essential then they may direct requests to be included in the essential business list to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
  • All businesses ordered closed by Executive Orders 118 and 120 shall remain closed.

What are minimum basic operations?

  • The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll, and employee benefits, or for related functions.
  • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate the employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

Am I allowed to travel?

  • You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities.

What is considered essential travel?

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, or minimum basic operations.
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from education institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services.
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of Emerald Isle remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

What does this mean for short term rentals?

  • All short term rentals for any property are prohibited until April 29, 2020 but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and can be revised, amended, or extended based on recommendations from the Governor of North Carolina and/or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Renters currently occupying short term rental properties shall be permitted to complete the current rental contract but are required to follow the requirements of this order.

Where can I stay up-to-date on any changes and news about Town of Emerald Isle operations, services, and programs due to COVID-19?

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Friday, March 27, 2020 7:47:00 PM Categories: News