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Updates on COVID-19 Restrictions and Vaccine Eligibility

Friday, March 26, 2021
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Below are some updates from the state and the Orange County Health Department regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations.

Vaccine eligibility

The state has accelerated the timeline for making people in groups 4 and 5 eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • March 31 ― The rest of Group 4 will be eligible. This includes essential workers and remaining people in close group living settings, like college dormitories. Essential workers include frontline workers who do not have to be in person for work and those in a range of sectors as categorized by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. See the state’s Deeper Dive: Group 4.
  • April 7 ― All people ages 16 and older will be eligible. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine currently available for 16- and 17-year-olds.

“It has been encouraging to see that our community members are ready and willing to get vaccinated,” Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart said. “We welcome this new timeline that will allow all groups to be able to get this safe and effective vaccine.”

See the vaccine appointments section below to find a provider. The Health Department is registering people now in the remaining groups.

County emergency extended

Orange County has amended its emergency declaration to extend the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 vaccine through June 30.

COVID-19 restrictions

The state will ease some COVID-19 restrictions, beginning at 5 p.m. today, March 26. Social distancing requirements of 6 feet and the statewide mask mandate remain in effect, with masks required in both outdoor and indoor settings.

Executive Order 204, which expires April 30:

  • Increases the number of people who may gather indoors to 50.
  • Increases the number of people who may gather outdoors to 100.
  • Lifts the restriction regarding late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments.
  • Eases or lifts capacity restrictions on businesses and other facilities as long as other safety restrictions are followed, including maintaining 6 feet of distance between patrons.

The order’s capacity restrictions allow:

  • Up to 100% capacity ― Retail and personal care businesses, childcare, camps, museums, and outdoor spaces of restaurants, pools, fitness and physical activity facilities, and amusement parks.
  • Up to 75% capacity indoors ― Restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries; pools; fitness and physical activity facilities; and amusement parks.
  • Up to 50% capacity ― Indoor areas of movie theaters and entertainment facilities; and indoor and outdoor areas of bars, meeting, conference and reception spaces, and stadiums and arenas.

See the executive order and frequently asked questions.

Vaccine initiative

The state has started Healthier Together, a public-private partnership to increase the number of individuals from historically marginalized populations receiving COVID-19 vaccinations across the state. It will provide grants to community-based organizations to do the work and hire regional health equity teams to support community-based organizations in vaccine efforts.

See the Healthier Together: Health Equity Action Network page for additional information, including job opportunities.

Vaccine appointments

A number of vaccine providers are available in and around Orange County. The state maintains a complete list. See the state webpage www.myspot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567.

Some vaccinators encourage community members to check back periodically for openings. UNC Health Care has a standby program for people who live within 20 minutes of the Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Drive in Chapel Hill. Follow @uncstandbycovi1 on Twitter to receive notifications of any end-of-day doses available.

Local vaccine providers:

A federally supported community vaccination center is operating 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through April 20 in Greensboro. It is one of 18 sites nationally working to reach more marginalized and underserved communities and can provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day in indoor and outdoor drive-thru clinics. Visit the Greensboro Community Vaccination Center page.

Related documents


Document Current COVID-19 Restrictions in North Carolina  (effective 5 p.m. March 26, 2021)