Cooper eases capacity limits on businesses, venues

By on March 23, 2021

New Executive Order comes as COVID metrics improve

Governor Roy Cooper

Stating that “we are still seeing improvement with our COVID metrics,” Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order easing a number of capacity restrictions for businesses and venues in North Carolina. The new Order, announced at a March 23 press briefing, takes effect on Friday, March 26.

Noting that six feet of social distancing and mask wearing mandates are still in place, Cooper said that operations such as museums, retail businesses, personal care businesses and the outdoor spaces of restaurants, amusement parks, fitness facilities and pools can now operate at 100% capacity.

The inside spaces of restaurants, fitness facilities and amusement parks will now be able to function at 75% of capacity. And the indoor areas of movies and entertainment facilities, as well as indoor and outdoor spaces at bars and conference centers and sports arenas and fields can now operate at 50% capacity.

The mass gathering limits have also been eased, with the indoor number going from 25 to 50 and the outdoor number increasing from 50-100. The new Order also lifts restrictions on the late-night sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants.

Cooper also said that some businesses may not be able to open to the new capacity limits if they do not have the space to do so while observing the six-foot social distancing mandates.

The mood at the March 23 media briefing was upbeat, with NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen declaring: “We’re in a promising place.” State officials also announced that to date, about 32% of North Carolina residents 18 and over had been partially vaccinated and about 19% have been fully vaccinated.

When asked by a reporter about the growing number of North Carolina COVID cases that are now attributed COVID variants in the state, Cohen said the number of those cases are still “pretty small.” But she expressed some caution, adding that such potentially complicating factors are a major reason why the state has taken a measured “dimmer switch” approach to easing restrictions.

For his part, Cooper also noted that the current vaccines are “pretty effective” against the variants.

Link to COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard








  • Just sayin

    Thank you King Cooper for the morsel, I will be a good servant

    Tuesday, Mar 23 @ 6:46 pm
  • sandflea

    Thank you Governor Cooper for being a sensible governor and listening to scientists and doctors and not caving to the demands of the I, ME, MY crowd. The sooner we can get EVERYBODY vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to some sense of normalcy.

    Wednesday, Mar 24 @ 4:04 pm
  • Dave

    Must not speake I’ll of the worthless Mask mandate or your comment will be deleted….

    Wednesday, Mar 24 @ 4:45 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    You are correct Dave. The Voice’s website is not a platform for basic misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. You might try social media.

    Wednesday, Mar 24 @ 5:11 pm
  • Dethrol

    If 100% vaccination is the goalpost now, sorry to tell you that you ain’t gonna score…

    Wednesday, Mar 24 @ 6:55 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    I don’t think anyone talks about 100% vaccination, expects 100% vaccination and thinks you need 100% vaccination to create effective herd immunity.

    Wednesday, Mar 24 @ 7:55 pm
  • Sandflea

    No credible scientist has ever claimed 100% is required for herd immunity. With the current prevalent strain, approximately 70% would be required. With the B.1.1.7 variant (aka UK variant) heading towards being the dominant variant; we will need upwards of 90+% to reach herd immunity. As long as the I, ME, MY crowd refuses to get immunized and refuse to wear masks; we may never get there. If people wear masks and get one of the most effective vaccinations with almost NO side effects, we could be heading back to a near normal life by late summer to early fall. This isn’t hard people. The people who want to get back to normal the quickest way possible also seem to be the people that are preventing us from doing so.

    Thursday, Mar 25 @ 7:21 am
  • Lucas


    I am by no means an “I, ME, MY” type of person but I will not be getting the vaccine. The only vaccine out there that is a traditional vaccine (meaning it includes a small dose of the actual virus to allow your body to build up antibodies against it) is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. None of the others are actually created to stop the spread of the virus. The only way we will get back to normal is for people to decide to get back to normal. If we continue to wait on the government to tell us that we are back to normal, we will NEVER be back to normal.

    Thursday, Mar 25 @ 4:43 pm
  • Sandflea

    I’m afraid to tell you that your “data” is factually wrong. I can’t sit back and let false, junk science spread. I don’t know where you got your “data”from, but I suggest that you and others that have this misinformation do some more digging into the research. It’s out there and not hard to find.
    Btw, they do take a “small dose” of the virus. They get the mRNA genetic code from the docking spikes of the virus.

    Friday, Mar 26 @ 7:16 am