Governor Issues Executive Order To Relax State’s Outdoor Mask Mandate, Ease Mass Gathering Limits

Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress. As the state’s metrics and key indicators remain stable, Governor Cooper also signed an Executive Order outlining safety measures for the month of May.

Executive Order No. 209 will take effect April 30 and is set to expire June 1. As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”

Under the new Executive Order, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NC DHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult. 

Executive Order No. 209 will also increase mass gathering capacity limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.

“Fortunately, we now have enough vaccine for everyone. They are free and widely available across the state. In many places you don’t need appointment,” said Secretary Cohen. “For those who have questions, I encourage you to go to to learn about the benefits of the vaccines, potential temporary reactions you might experience, and answers to common questions.” 

North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7 million doses. 48.7% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 39.2% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated. 

State health officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often. 

Frequently Asked Questions For Executive Order 209


  1. There would be many, many more people getting the vaccine if, after full vaccination, they weren’t still restricted. Most unvaccinated people don’t want to go through the side effects if they’re still not going to be able to resume their normal lives even after getting vaccinated. Give them a reason to get the shot!!! I am now fully vaccinated but what was the point if I’m not allowed to resume living as before the chinese virus???

    • The only person not allowing you to live your life is you. Those of us who have continued to see family and travel/refuse to wear a mask anywhere….we’ve been living life while millions wait for the government to give them permission.

      And I do not intend on getting a a vaccine whose long term, and even short term side effects are unknown. I’ll risk getting the Corona-cold.

Comments are closed.