Local News

What the NC coronavirus curfew means for you

Posted December 10, 2020 11:44 a.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2020 11:19 a.m. EST

— Gov. Roy Cooper's latest executive order spelling out do's and don'ts designed to limit the spread of coronavirus in North Carolina takes effect Friday. Here is what it means for businesses and individuals.

Nightly curfew

Restaurants, bars, personal care businesses and most retailers will have to close at 10 p.m. and cannot reopen before 5 a.m. Restaurants can continue to fill drive-thru, takeout and delivery orders after 10 p.m.

Supermarkets and other businesses that sell food and health care supplies, pharmacies and gas stations can stay open past 10 p.m.

Live entertainment performances, movies and youth, high school and amateur sporting events must end by 10 p.m., although college and professional sporting events may continue past that time.

Religious services, such as midnight Mass, and activities in which people exercise their First Amendment rights also are exempt from the curfew. Cooper urged anyone involved in such activities to follow safety guidelines, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical separation from others.

During the curfew hours, people are allowed to travel to go to work, to get food, medicine or health care or to care for family members or pets.

Alcohol sales

Because restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m., sales of on-site consumption of alcohol must end at 9 p.m. – that's two hours earlier than existing rules Cooper put in place in July – and they cannot resume before 7 a.m.

Supermarkets and convenience stores can continue to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption past 9 p.m.

Gathering limits

Existing limits on mass gatherings remain at 10 people indoors and 50 people outside.

Existing capacity limits for various businesses – 50 percent for restaurants and 30 percent for gyms and fitness centers, for example – also remain unchanged.


The statewide mask mandate, which requires people age 5 and older to cover their faces whenever they're indoors with anyone who isn't part of their household and whenever they cannot maintain physical distance from others outside, is unchanged.

Businesses are required to enforce the mandate for customers and employees.


Local law enforcement can enforce the curfew "only in cases of willful or repeated violations," according to the order.

Law enforcement agencies already can cite businesses and individuals that don't enforce mask requirements or gathering limits with misdemeanors, although authorities say they prefer to warn and educate people before resorting to criminal charges.

The executive order remains in effect until Jan. 8.

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