Effective 5 p.m. Friday, March 27, all non-essential facilities, services, operations and retail businesses must close unless employees can work from home. Wake County residents are ordered to stay at home and away from others who are not immediate members of their family or household.

You can also call our dedicated information line for businesses at 919-856-7420 with questions about COVID-19.


What kinds of businesses are allowed to operate under the stay-at-home order?
For a comprehensive list of all services exempt, please review Section 10 of the Proclamation and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response.

Under the stay-at-home order, the following types of business are allowed to operate, provided they adopt social distancing practices wherever practical:

  • Healthcare operations including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, licensed health care professionals, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, physical therapy businesses, medical supply manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, and other healthcare facilities;
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other similar establishments;
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out;
  • Commercial and residential construction and trades, including plumbers, electricians, heating and air conditioning specialists, exterminators, custodial, towing services and other similar service providers;
  • Hardware and supply stores;
  • Farming, livestock, and fishing;
  • Businesses, non-profits, and organizations that provide food, shelter, goods, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  • Facilities, services, operations and retail businesses capable of utilizing a workforce working solely remotely (telework);
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Gas stations and transportation related businesses, including auto-supply shops, auto-repair shops, auto sales, bike shops, and equipment for such businesses;
  • Banks, insurance, and related financial institutions;
  • Landscapers, lawn maintenance, foresters, and related professions that are able to conduct their business outside and without public interaction;
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Educational institutions-including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions;
  • Faith organizations and institutions for the purpose of providing online distribution, audio or visual broadcasting of services providing only minimal staff, required for said broadcast or distribution;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
  • Airport workers, airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers;
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Residential facilities which includes hotels, motels, apartment complexes, shared rental units, dormitories and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  • Professional services, such as legal services; accounting services; process servers; insurance services; and notary services;
  • Professional real estate services, such as realtors, appraisers, notary services, title insurers, inspectors;
  • Funeral homes, providers of mortuary services, crematoriums, and cemeteries, as well as individuals or entities engaged in the proper recovery, burial, or disposal of human remains;
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted from the provisions of this Proclamation of Emergency Restrictions to work as permitted;
  • Services engaged in the business of testing for, cleaning up, managing, or disposing of hazardous materials or substances;
  • Any business or entities identified as essential by the federal government or the State of North Carolina.

How do I protect workers at my business that is exempt from the restrictions?
If your business may remain open, workers and clients are advised to practice social distancing. That includes:

  • Staying at least six feet away from others
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Cleaning and disinfect surfaces that get touched often
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that get touched often
  • Not shaking hands

Additionally, employers should:

  • Order employees to stay home when they are sick
  • Be flexible in sick leave benefits
  • Consider staggering start and end times of employees to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time
  • Offer opportunities for teleworking

I run a childcare facility. How should I protect our children and staff?
Childcare facilities should continue to operate if they enable workers to continue providing the essential services listed above. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must:

  • Have at least 56 square feet of space per person, including children and staff

  • Divide into “stable groups,” so that the same children and staff are together each day

  • If a facility has more than one group, they should be in separate rooms

  • Keep staff and children in the same groups each day

Can I maintain my business during the shutdown?
Yes. Non-essential businesses can perform basic operations on-site, including:

  • Collecting mail and packages

  • Maintaining the value of inventory

  • Maintaining the physical condition of facilities and equipment

  • Security

  • Processing payroll and benefits

  • Activities that help employees work from their homes

Employees should practice social distancing as much as possible.

Where can I go for help during this economically challenging time for my business?
Wake County is partnering with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake County Economic Development to share resources with all businesses impacted by closures and service restrictions. You can visit their COVID-19 resource page for more information.

If I have to lay off employees, what can I do?
People can apply for unemployment on the N.C. Department of Commerce’s website. Under Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order signed on March 17, unemployment benefits will be easier to access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are restaurants in Wake County closing?
On Tuesday, March 17, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order closing restaurants and bars for dine-in customers effective. Establishments may continue to fulfill take-out and delivery orders.

What types of businesses are specifically restricted and must close?
Effective March 23, Wake County put new restrictions in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus through Thursday, April 16.

Business types listed below must remain closed through Thursday, April 16.

  • Fitness Centers and Clubs
  • Gyms
  • Hair Salons
  • Barber Shops
  • Nail Salons
  • Spas
  • Tanning Salons
  • Massage Establishments
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Any Professional Grooming Services

What are the special restrictions for nursing homes?
Nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers are no longer allowed to receive visitors per Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order. These facilities must also cease all group activities that don’t allow for social distancing.