Durham’s city and county governments announced an amendment to their joint stay-at-home order on Friday that both more closely aligns it with the statewide order and extends it indefinitely. 

As with Governor Cooper’s most recent executive order, which brought the state into phase 1 of a three-part reopening plan, religious practices are exempt from the prohibition on “mass gatherings,” although anything with more than 10 people must be held outside.

In addition, like the state order, the new Durham rule allows up to 10 people to gather at someone’s home so they as they are outside and can maintain social distancing, instead of five, which Durham had 

Durham’s order is still stricter than Cooper’s in a few areas: Only 25 people are allowed to attend funerals in Durham (the state’s limit is 50), and face coverings are still required in public spaces, not recommended. 

This amendment sets forth fewer rules and more “expectations”: You are expected to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary, but you are permitted to go shopping or to exercise. You’re likewise expected to cough or sneeze into your elbows, sleeves, and tissues, but not your hands, which, come on, you should be doing anyway. 

Sports and other outdoor activities are permitted as long as you maintain social distancing (now that the heat is here to stay, convincing people to stay six feet away from someone else’s sweat might not be so difficult) Summer camps are also allowed (for now).

The Durham Recovery and Renewal Task Force, a committee created to guide the city out of social distancing, will decide how strictly the face-covering requirement will be enforced. It has already set guidelines for childcare facilities and will monitor the situation to decide if summer camps will be an option.

While Durham’s stay-at-home order has been stricter than most (it’s the only county in the Triangle where a mask is required), Mayor Steve Schewel says it’s working.

“People are taking social distancing very seriously, and I’m glad to report that we are beginning to see results,” Schewel said in a press release. “We are reducing the rate of growth of the virus in Durham, and we are beginning to flatten the curve.”

As of Friday, Durham has had 938 reported cases and 36 deaths.

Contact digital content manager Sara Pequeño at spequeno@indyweek.com.

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One reply on “Durham’s Stay-At-Home Order Has Been Extended Indefinitely”

  1. This goes to show that as always, the rich white people running Durham don’t care about the poor people of color in the city. They say, loudly, that they care, but they don’t in any way that matters. Their virus hysteria is causing immeasurable hardship for people who actually have to go to work for a living.

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