Durham County and City combine stay-at-home orders to clear up confusion. Here's what that means for residents

The City of Durham and Durham County announced on Friday that they are combining their stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to clear up confusion.

RELATED: What is an 'essential activity' under Gov. Cooper's Stay-at-Home order?

The order goes into effect on Saturday, April 4 at 5 p.m.

"We have also strengthened the enforcement provisions of this Order to ensure that all businesses and residents take the order seriously," said Mayor Schewel. "The good news is that our Stay-At-Home Order has taken hold with our residents and is beginning to work. People are taking social distancing very seriously, and I'm glad to report that we are beginning to see results. We are reducing the rate of growth of the virus in Durham, and we are beginning to flatten the curve. Let's keep up that good work as a community."

Specific provisions of the order are as follows:

  • Reduces the number of people who can gather in public or private to five, down from 10 in the previous Order.
  • Clarifies questions from realtors by continuing to allow virtual showings only, but no in-person showings as strongly recommended by the Director of the Durham County Department of Public Health.
  • Bans all sports which involve shared equipment including tennis.
  • Requires social distancing and sanitation practices in all retail stores that remain open because they are essential. All stores are required to do their best to protect their workers and customers through social distancing and sanitation rules and practices. This will be enforced by the Durham Police Department and the Durham County Sheriff's Office.
  • Farmers markets may operate by pickup and delivery only.
  • Any businesses providing services in a residential setting shall have their employees wear a mask covering the mouth and nose.
  • Community fitness centers in subdivisions and in apartment buildings must be closed.


Under this order, as well as the previous orders, all businesses not labeled as an "essential business" and that cannot allow employees to work from home must close.

All Durham residents -- except those traveling to or from essential businesses or participating in essential activities --are prohibited from being on city streets or in public spaces.

Essential businesses include:
  • Businesses essential for homeland security and cyber security, including the electrical grid
  • Businesses for groceries, medicine or household goods
  • Human services operations that cannot be accessed by phone or online
  • Health care and public health options
  • Media operations and first-amendment-protected speech
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, including bike shops and car dealerships
  • Financial and insurance institutions for operations that cannot be accessed online
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades, including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning staff, security staff, painters, moving services, HVAC, and operating engineers
  • Mail and shipping services
  • Educational institutions practicing social distancing and/or online instruction
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for takeout or delivery only
  • Services that provide supplies for essential businesses
  • Transportation, both public and private
  • Home-based care services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Childcare facilities
  • Hotel and motels
  • Funeral Services
  • Outdoor services including construction and lawn maintenance, as long as social distancing is maintained
  • Professional services that are necessary at this time, including legal services, accounting and notary services


Non-essential businesses can stay open, as long as they only conduct business online or via mail order. Businesses that comply with social distancing and allow workers to work from home can allow the minimum number of people present to keep the business open.

Permitted activities under the order include:
  • Tasks essential to the health and safety of oneself or a family member or pet
  • Obtaining necessary supplies
  • Walking, hiking, running, biking, golfing outside, as long as social distancing guidelines are met
  • Working at an essential business or working from home
  • Taking care of family members, friends or pets
  • Going to or from educational institutions to get remote learning materials or food
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