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Orange County Moves into Phase 3 of State’s Reopening Plan

Friday, Oct. 2, 2020
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Orange County will align with Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order taking North Carolina into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, effective at 5 p.m. today.

The governor’s order allows bars, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to open with capacity limits; allows kindergarten-fifth grade schools to reopen under the state’s Plan A; and limits mass gatherings to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. By aligning with the state’s restrictions, the county’s stricter limit on mass gatherings is lifted.

The governor and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen pointed to the stabilization of several key metrics including hospitalizations, trajectory of confirmed cases, and positivity rates on COVID tests as supporting the move to Phase 3.

“Current trends in Orange County allow us to move forward with the state, but should we experience changes in positivity rates, more clusters or outbreaks or an increase in the number of cases, we will not hesitate to reinstate stricter limits on gatherings and other activities,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “We must remain diligent and continue social distancing and wearing masks while in public until a safe, effective vaccine is readily available.”

The state’s Plan A for schools includes important safety measures such as face coverings for all students, teachers and staff; social distancing; and symptom screening, but it does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. The school systems across Orange County will determine when to reopen their kindergarten-fifth grade classrooms and under which state plan.

People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those who are at risk are safer at home, and those who have contact with others at risk should use caution when out. For information on which medical conditions are included, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Orange County has extended its emergency declaration to Dec. 31, 2020.

Reliable information

For the latest information and guidance relating to Hillsborough and Orange County’s COVID-19 response:

Related documents


Document N.C. Executive Order No. 169  

Document N.C. Executive Order No. 169, FAQ  

Document Orange County Oct. 2 amendment of emergency declaration  

Document What’s New in Phase 3