Virginia Resources Updated: April 23, 2021
North Carolina Resources Updated: April 30, 2021
Commonwealth of Virginia Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource that provides information pertaining to official actions, guidance, updates, and information about the novel coronavirus. The Department of Social Services has recently launched a website to streamline access to resources and guidance for citizens.
During the week of April 19, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam issued two announcements regarding key changes to his next steps in the “Forward Virginia” plan on easing restrictions in the Commonwealth. Every Virginian must continue to practice safety measures that have been proven to keep everyone safe: maintain proper physical distancing, avoid gatherings with individuals outside of your household, practice hand sanitation, and wear masks while indoors and in public.
The key changes in the Fifth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two, which went into effect on April 21, 2021 include:
The following measures in the Sixth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two will go into effect on May 15, 2021:
Here is a link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders and Directives.
If you have business or industry specific questions, please feel free to reach out to our Government Relations team.
Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vec.virginia.gov/
Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov
Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid): www.dmas.virginia.gov
Secretary of Commerce and Trade: https://www.commerce.virginia.gov/covid-19/
North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource concerning North Carolina’s response to COVID-19.
Over the past year, Governor Roy Cooper has issued a series of executive orders that include public health mandates and restrictions on various activities. Most recently, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 209 and Executive Order 210 Executive Order 209 further eases COVID-19 restrictions in place in NC by increasing indoor and outdoor mass gathering limits to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors and lifting the outdoor mask mandate. However, masks are still required indoors. Larger venues, auditoriums, amphitheaters, and arenas can operate at 50% capacity. However, a higher capacity will be allowed if the venue receives pre-approval from the NC Department of Health and Human Services. This provision applies to indoor facilities with seating capacity greater than five thousand and outdoor facilities with seating capacity greater than one thousand.
Executive Order 209 goes into effect on Friday, April 30th, and runs through June 1, 2021.
Executive Order 210 extends through June 1st a previous order that allows the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages. A link to Governor’s Office’s guidance document on Executive Order 209 can be found here.
Current capacity limits, implemented by Executive Order 204 and extended in Executive Order 209 are as follows:
Businesses that can operate up to 100% occupancy with safety protocols:
Businesses that can operate at 75% indoors and 100% outdoors with safety protocols:
Businesses that can operate at 50% with safety protocols:
*Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at 75% capacity outdoors.
Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
The definition of a face covering means “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears and fits snugly against the side of a person’s face.”
Where Masks are Required
In general, face coverings are required indoors if anyone else is in that space who is not a member of the same household.
The face covering requirement is not appliable to workers, customers, or patrons who:
Businesses may offer curbside pickup, provide home delivery, or any other reasonable measure to deliver goods to customers who claim that a face covering exemption applies to them.
Face coverings are also required while exercising if an individual is indoors and not within their own home.
All teachers, staff and visitors, along with children five years or older, are required to wear a mask at public schools at all times indoors, unless an exception applies.
Enforcement of Face Covering Requirements
Law enforcement officers may cite individuals who fail to wear face coverings as required. Law enforcement officers may cite a business or organization that fails to enforce the requirement to wear face coverings.
If a business or organization does not allow entry to a worker or guest because that person refuses to wear a face covering, and if that worker or guest enters the premises and refuses to leave the premises, law enforcement personnel may enforce the trespassing laws.
Employers are required to make a good faith effort to provide face coverings to employees.
The capacity limit for retailers is the lesser of the following:
Other requirements include:
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidance document for Retail Businesses can be found here.
Restaurants are defined to include, but are not limited to, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food courts, and food kiosks. The definition also includes locations within other businesses or facilities, including, but not limited to, airports, shopping centers, educational institutions, and private or members-only clubs where food and beverages are permitted to be consumed on-premises.
Restaurants are allowed to operate subject to capacity restrictions that limit capacity to the lesser of the following:
The other requirements that apply are as follows:
Patrons do not need to be family members to sit at the same table and do not need to stay six feet apart. Nor are wait staff required to stay six feet away from customers.
The business immunity provision included in recently enacted COVID-19 legislation applies to restaurants.
The NC DHHS guidance document for Restaurants can be found here.
Bars, Night Spots and Arenas
“Bars,” defined as businesses which are not eating establishments or restaurants and that are principally engaged in the business of selling alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption, along with lounges (such as cigar bars and hookah lounges), venues for live performances, and adult entertainment facilities, can operate subject to applicable capacity restrictions. This category includes auditoriums, amphitheaters, arenas, music halls, night clubs, dance halls and other venues for live performances.
These facilities must limit customers indoor and outdoor seating areas to the lesser of the following:
In addition, the following apply:
All guests must be seated except to leave, use amenities, visit the restroom or obtain food or drink.
The following requirements also apply:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Bars and Lounges can be found here.
Mixed Drinks To Go
On December 21st, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 183 which authorizes the Chair of the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission to allow the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages. Permitted sellers allowed to serve mixed beverages to-go or via delivery include restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars, and holders of distillery permits. This order was extended by Executive Order 210 and now is effective until June 1st.
As defined under NC General Statute 18B-101(10), a "mixed beverage" means either of the following:
Movie Theaters, Meeting Spaces and Entertainment Facilities
Various entertainment businesses and meeting venues are allowed to open, including the following:
Guests must be in seats except to enter, leave, visit the restroom, or obtain food or drink. Each group of guests must be seated so that they are spaced out by six feet in all directions from other groups of guests. The capacity limit is the lesser of the following:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Movie Theaters and Indoor Gaming can be found here.
The NC DHHS guidance document for Meeting Rooms and Event Spaces can be found here.
Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses
Personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:
These businesses can open subject to the capacity limits defined as the lesser of the following:
In addition, the following apply to these business operations:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Salons, Massage, and Personal Care Businesses can be found here.
The NC DHHS guidance document for Tattoo Businesses can be found here.
Fitness and Competitive Physical Activity Facilities
The following types of establishments are defined as Fitness and Competitive Physical Activity Facilities:
These facilities must comply with the following requirements:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Fitness Centers and Gyms can be found here.
Indoor facilities with seating capacity greater than 5,000 and outdoor facilities with seating capacity greater than 10,000 are subject to the capacity limits for bars, night spots and arenas set out above (i.e., these facilities must limit capacity for indoor and outdoor seating areas to the lesser of 50% capacity, or twelve customers per one thousand square feet for rooms or spaces without a stated fire capacity, or the number of customers in the location so that everyone can stay six feet apart). These venues must also take additional measures:
A "group" of spectators means a set of friends or family members who bought tickets together and came into the event venue together.
The NC DHHS guidance document for Large Outdoor and Indoor Venues can be found here.
For outdoor spaces, these facilities must limit guests to 100% of the stated fire capacity. For rooms or spaces without a stated fire capacity, the limit on guests is twenty-four per one thousand square feet, rounded up. For indoor spaces, the maximum capacity is 75% of the stated fire capacity for each building, room, or other indoor space. This limit applies separately to each room within a building. For rooms or spaces without a stated fire capacity, the limit on guests is eighteen per one thousand square feet, rounded up.
The amusement park operator must limit the number of guests within each ride or vehicle to either:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Amusement Parks can be found here.
Museums and Aquariums
Museums and aquariums may open subject to the following requirements:
The NC DHHS guidance document for Museums and Aquariums can be found here.
Mass Gathering Ban
Mass gatherings are still prohibited and are defined as an event or convening that brings together more than one hundred people indoors or more than two hundred people outdoors at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes parades, fairs, and festivals. However, the mass gathering limit does not apply to the various businesses and facilities that are subject to specific capacity limits, such as retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, childcare, day camps, overnight camps, auditoriums, arenas, reception venues, conference centers, educational institutions or government operations. The prohibition on mass gatherings does not include gatherings for health and safety, to look for and obtain goods and services, for work, or for receiving governmental services. Nor are normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls, and shopping centers affected. It also does not apply to the exercise of First Amendment rights.
Executive Order 206 extends the moratorium on evictions (Executive Order 171) until June 30, 2021. In general, this order is the state equivalent to the CDC order which stops evictions for nonpayment of rent if the tenant qualifies and gives his or her landlord a signed declaration form attesting that they qualify. A tenant qualifies if he or she meets all of the following:
Applicants eligible for the North Carolina Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (“HOPE”) Program are also specifically protected from eviction under the order.
If an eviction action is filed, landlords are required to provide tenants with a blank copy of the CDC declaration form.
A link to the Governor’s Office updated guidance document for Executive Order 191 can be found here.
Section 4.14 of SB 704 provides immunity to essential businesses with respect to claims from a customer or employee for any injuries or death alleged to have been caused as a result of the customer or employee contracting COVID-19 while doing business with or while employed by the essential business, so long as there was no act or omission of the essential business constituting gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.
And as referenced above, this provision is applied to restaurants (even though they originally were not open as “essential businesses”).
Section 3D.7.(a) of SB 704 includes an immunity provision for health care providers that is almost identical to the essential business immunity provision.
Later in the legislative session, HB 118 was approved by the General Assembly. This legislation provides immunity for individuals, governmental entities, corporations, nonprofit corporations and other legal entities (collectively “person”) from legal claims alleging that the person’s act or omission resulted in a third party’s contraction of COVID-19. Any act or omission that constitutes gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing is not covered. The immunity applies to claims arising on or after July 2nd and continues in effect as to claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 (the executive order issued by the Governor declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19).
The immunity provision in this legislation has a few attributes of note that are not present in the immunity provision included in SB 704. First, it applies to a universe of entities beyond just essential businesses. Second, it is not limited to claims from customers or employees. And, lastly, it is effective for a longer period of time (claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 vs the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116).
HB 118 requires businesses, non-profits and government offices to provide reasonable notice at each premises of the actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to individuals present on the premises.
EO 181, and the previous orders, provides that it does not create a private right of action by any party against the “State of North Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any emergency management worker (as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-l 9.60) or any other person.”
Local Government Regulation
Governor Cooper and his administration have developed a COVID-19 County Alert System (System). The System categorizes all 100 counties into three tiers using criteria that measure the level of viral spread. The Governor has also announced recommended actions for public officials, individuals, businesses and community organizations to decrease the spread of the virus that are specific to the tiers.
The three tiers of counties are as follows:
The System uses a combination of three metrics: case rate, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospital impact within the county. A county is classified in the red or orange tier if the case rate surpasses the threshold for the respective tier and either the threshold for the percent of positive tests or the hospital impact threshold for that tier is also reached.
As of April 29th, none of North Carolina’s 100 counties red tier counties. There are 30 orange tier counties, 56 yellow counties, 14 light yellow counties, and no green counties. DHHS publishes an updated System report the 2nd week of every month.
A document outlining the System, along with the initial classifications, can be found here.
DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen issued a Secretarial Directive on January 6th instructing North Carolinians to stay at home except for essential activities and avoid any gatherings with individuals other than those with whom they live. A link to the directive, can be found here.
On October 20th, Secretary Cohen and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Secretary Eric Hooks sent a letter to elected officials in 36 counties asking that they consider taking local actions to improve compliance with the Governor’s executive orders. Because enforcement of the Governor’s previous orders was criminal, law enforcement may have been reluctant to act. Therefore, DHHS and DPS suggested local civil enforcement. Some of the specific ideas mentioned in the letter are as follows:
The letter was sent to counties that have one or more of the following metrics:
The following counties received the letter from DHHS and DPS: Alamance, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Chowan, Cleveland, Craven, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gaston, Graham, Greene, Guilford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Scotland, Union, Wake, Watauga and Wayne.
A link to the letter can be found here.
A link to the DHHS’ press release can be found here.
NC Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/
NC Department of Commerce: https://www.nccommerce.com/
NC Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/
NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: http://www.ncagr.gov/
Department of Insurance https://www.ncdoi.gov/
Golden LEAF Foundation - Rapid Recovery Loan Program https://ncrapidrecovery.org/
Department of Homeland Security:
FDIC and Other Bank/Lending Regulators:
US Small Business Administration: