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Reopening Guidelines for Businesses

This is a tough time for business owners. We've curated this page for business partners as a source of factual information and guidelines for reopening Elizabeth City businesses while keeping our visitors and locals safe. We'll continue to update this page as new information and guidelines become available. For information on grants, loans, and other resources not related to reopening practices, please visit our business resources page.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of easing COVID-19 restrictions began on May 8, 2020. This phase allows more retail locations to open at 50% capacity and people to leave their homes for non-essential goods or services. During this phase, restaurants are still closed to dine-in service and gyms, salons, movie theaters, etc. are still mandatorily closed.

Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 2 of easing COVID-19 restrictions initially began on May 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and as of August 5, has been extended again to September 11, 2020. This phase allows the Stay at Home order to be lifted as NC transitions to a Safer at Home recommendation, especially for vulnerable populations. During this phase, indoor gathering limits are 10 people, outdoor gathering limits are 25 people, restaurants, salons, and pools are allowed to operate at 50% capacity with other safety requirements. Bars, nightclubs, museums, playgrounds, gyms, fitness studios, and indoor entertainment venues must remain closed.

With the extension of Phase 2, face coverings are now required when in public. For specifics on the Phase 2 Extension and face covering requirements, visit

Frequently Asked Questions about the extension of Phase 2

See "Phase 2: NCDHHS Interim Guidelines" below for industry specific guidelines.

Phase 2.5

Phase 2.5 of easing COVID-19 restrictions began September 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. This in-between phase acknowledges the leveling of infection rates in North Carolina, but that we are still not ready for Phase 3. Phase 2.5 is scheduled to expire October 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. This phase retains many of the Phase 2 restrictions, but allows for playgrounds to reopen and for museums, aquariums, and exercise facilities to reopen at reduced capacity. During this phase, indoor gathering limits are increased to 25 people, outdoor gathering limits are increased to 50 people. Bars, nightclubs, and indoor entertainment venues remain closed. 

Face coverings are still required when in public. For specifics on the face covering requirements, visit

Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2.5
Fall 2020 Activity Planning Guidance

Phase 3

Phase 3 of easing COVID-19 restrictions began on October 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. This phase still follows a Safer at Home recommendation, especially for vulnerable populations, while easing some restrictions on other businesses and activities. During this phase:

Face coverings are mandatory for all people in public places, ages 5 and over.

Frequently Asked Questions About Phase 3
Frequently Asked Questions About Modifed Phase 3

NC COVID-19 Travel Resources
CDC Toolkit for Domestic Travelers

Count On Me NC

count on me nc logoCount On Me NC is a mutual pledge and public health initiative that empowers guests and businesses to help keep everyone safe and protected. The program offers 30 minute training modules for restaurant owners/operators and staff, with new modules for all hospitality businesses coming soon. Once an owner or operator of a business completes the certification, their business will be listed on the "participating businesses" section of the site and have access to print and digital assets to show how their business has gone above and beyond to ensure guest and staff safety.



General Health & Safety Guidelines

The number one concern for American consumers right now is SAFETY. Research clearly indicates that while locals and travelers want to go out, shop, dine, etc. they won’t until they feel safe. The U.S. Travel Association, in collaboration with public health experts and industry feedback, has put together “Travel in the New Normal: Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of Travelers”. 

Phase 2: NCDHHS Interim Guidelines

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has created the guidelines below to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as North Carolina enters Phase 2 of easing restrictions on May 22, 2020.


Places of Worship

Large Venues

Retail Businesses

Salons, Massage, and Personal Care Businesses

Public Pools & Spas

Tattoo Businesses

Day Camps

Overnight Camps

Child Care Settings

Outdoor Sporting Events

Vacation Rentals



National Parks

Outdoor Recreation

Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Reopening Resources

The EDPNC has created a business resource guide for North Carolina businesses preparing to reopen. Click here to download.

Business Signage

Know Your Ws
Maximum Occupancy

Other Helpful Resources

Elizabeth City Business Resources
NCDHHS Checklist for Business Owners
NCDHHS Social Media Materials

CDC Print Resources/Handouts


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Visit our Business Resources page for information on loans, grants, and more to help you and your business recover. See Travel Advisory Updates for updates, breaking news, and more.


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