Safer at Home Phase 3 FAQs

The City and County appreciate your effort to comply with North Carolina Executive Orders 169, 176, and 180 (Safer at Home Phase 3). With everyone’s cooperation, we hope to control the virus quickly so that life can soon return to normal.

Current Status: Phase 3 Extended & Mask requirements tightened

As of Wednesday, November 25 at 5 p.m., the City and County of Durham have adopted the State’s Executive Order 180, with no additional local requirements.

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Understanding Safer at home Phase 3

North Carolina and Durham remain under Phase 3 until at least December 11. North Carolinians must stay vigilant on mask wearing and social distancing.


Updated North Carolina Mask Requirement Effective Nov. 25 through Dec. 11

  • A mask must be worn any time you are with someone who is not from the same household.
  • Masks are required in indoor public spaces, even when maintaining six feet distance. This includes gyms (even while exercising), private and public schools, and public or private transportation when traveling with people outside your household.
  • View the press release or FAQs to learn more.


For a quick overview:

What is new in the Phase 3 extension?

What remains the same under Phase 3?

  • Face coverings are still required in public when it is not possible to maintain social distancing from non-household members.
  • The outdoor mass gathering limit remains at 50.
  • This order does not change the reduced capacity limits set out for certain facilities and venues, including:
    • Fitness and exercise facilities remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements.
    • Restaurants remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements.
    • Personal care businesses remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements.
    • Museums and aquariums remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements.
    • Movie theaters remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements. Entertainment/gaming venue guidelines (PDF) 
    • Arenas and performing arts centers remain open, subject to stated capacity limits and other requirements.
    • Meeting spaces in hotels, conference centers, meeting halls, and receptions venues may host receptions, meetings, and other functions, subject to capacity limits and other restrictions. Meeting venue guidelines (PDF) 
  • The outdoor areas of amusement parks may reopen, subject to capacity limits and other restrictions. Indoor rides at amusement parks remain closed. Amusement park guidelines (PDF) 
  • Bars’ outdoor seating areas remain open, subject to reduced capacity limits and other restrictions. Indoor bar areas remain closed. Bar guidelines (PDF) 
  • Music halls, night clubs, lounges, adult entertainment, venues for live performances, and arenas with spectators where guests are seated remain open, subject to reduced capacity limits. Small/medium venue guidelines (PDF) 
  • Very large outdoor facilities with a capacity of more than 10,000 guests remain open at 7% of the facility’s total seating capacity, if they meet certain requirements. Large outdoor venue guidelines (PDF) 
  • Alcohol sales are still required to cease from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

Which gatherings or other events are not subject to the 10-person indoor mass gathering limit?

  • Worship, religious, spiritual gatherings, wedding ceremonies, funeral services and other First Amendment activities.
  • Gatherings for work or for receiving governmental services.
  • Gatherings at places that are subject to other capacity limits stated in the executive orders. These include fitness and exercise facilities, restaurants, personal care businesses, museums and aquariums, movie theaters, hotels, conference centers and reception venues.
  • Normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and shopping centers.
  • Families of more than 10 people who reside together.

Holiday Safety Guidelines

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Additional Resources

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Understanding Safer at Home Phase 3

Visit the State’s website for additional information on Phase 3, including FAQs and guidelines for common activities and businesses. Visit NC.gov.

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Complete the Business Safety Checklist

Complete the checklist in English or Spanish to get a customized poster to display the steps you are taking to keep employees and customers safe. Visit BackOnTheBull.com.

Community & Business Resources

Community & Business Resources

Find resources and support for businesses and individuals during COVID-19. Learn More.

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  1. FAQs
  2. Press Releases
  3. Stay-at-Home Order Archive

How do I report a violation of the Safer at Home Order?

  • To report violations in the City or County of Durham:
    Call the Durham Emergency Communications Center non-emergency line at 919-560-4600. 

Please DO NOT call the non-emergency phone number for general inquiries or questions about the Order. If your question is not answered on this FAQ webpage, contact Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 for assistance Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • To report violations at Duke University:
    If you have any questions or concerns or observe students whose behavior does not adhere to these policies, please call 800-826-8109, option 3, the Duke “Speak Up” reporting line, or email conduct@duke.edu, which goes to the Office of Student Conduct in the Division of Student Affairs. Submissions by phone and email will be sent to the appropriate department for follow up.

    If you need an immediate response to an off-campus issue, the Durham Neighborhoods United Protocol for Dealing with Off-Campus Student Housing should be followed. 

How is the Order being enforced within the City limits? 

It is the City’s priority to enforce the Order through education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary cooperation from all residents and businesses. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, the following steps will be taken: 

  • Step 1 – Advisory Education: The City will respond to violations with contact from the Durham Police Department (DPD) and City Attorney’s Office to provide education and an opportunity for voluntary compliance. This includes delivery of an advisory letter by DPD to notify the individual or business of their responsibility to follow the Order, and a call or letter from the Attorney’s Office.

  • Step 2 – Criminal Citation and Cease and Desist Letter: For continued violations, DPD will issue a citation and the Attorney’s Office will issue a cease and desist letter. After the citation and letter are issued, DPD will visit again to check on compliance with the Order.

  • Step 3 – Litigation: As a last resort for noncompliance, the City Attorney’s Office will evaluate the viability of further legal action.

What does it mean for businesses to “self-certify"? 

Self-certifying means businesses are voluntarily agreeing to follow a set of best practices based on guidance by public health experts for reducing the spread of COVID-19. Businesses will have the opportunity to demonstrate they have self-certified by publicly and prominently displaying at their place of business a checklist of safety guidelines that the COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Task Force has developed in collaboration with local experts. The checklist will include both a common set of best practices we expect of all gathering places as well as optional industry-specific practices. 

How do I complete self-certification for my business?

Visit BackOnTheBull.com to complete the self-certification checklist in English or Spanish.The process will entail downloading and printing a self-certification checklist for your industry and posting it prominently in a place in your businesses where all customers will see it upon entering. The checklist will serve as a reminder to our businesses of the practices they are committing to follow. Prominently displaying it will encourage accountability to business patrons who will know what they should expect upon entering the establishment.