Orange County is following Durham and (supposedly) Wake in issuing a countywide stay-at-home order, restricting travel outside of the house to essential activities. The order starts at 6:00 p.m. Friday and will continue until April 30.

Signed by Orange County Board of Commissioners chair Penny Rich, the order prohibits meetings of 10 or more people and closes all non-essential businesses. “Essential” activities include taking care of people or pets, buying necessary supplies, and engaging in outdoor activity, as long as you do it six feet apart from the person beside you. Skate parks and rec centers will be closed (there is no mention of golf courses).

“I need all of our community members to understand that the more quickly and closely we follow these stay-at-home measures, the faster and safer we can get through this and get our daily lives, and our economy, moving again,” Rich says.

Any business that is not deemed “essential” will be required to close, let its employees work from home, or find new ways of doing business, such as taking online orders, making deliveries, or doing curbside pick-up. Essential businesses are still required to keep people spread apart.

Essential businesses include anywhere you can get food (the Carrboro Farmers Market is even allowed to stay open!), government services, human services such as assisted living facilities and daycares, and businesses that produce and distribute medicine. (Also, the media.) 

No fines or other repercussions are mentioned in the order, although law enforcement is supposed to “cooperate in the enforcement and implementation” of the rules.

Contact digital content manager Sara Pequeño at

DEAR READERS, WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER. Support independent local journalism by joining the INDY Press Club today. Your contributions will keep our fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle, coronavirus be damned.