FAQ: Stay at home order extended until April 30. Here’s what it means for you

FAQ: Stay at home order extended until April 30. Here’s what it means for you
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This story was last updated at 10:28 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1. We’ll continue to regularly update it as part of our ongoing coronavirus coverage. Any new information will be added below and included in our daily newsletter.

All Mecklenburg County residents are under a stay at home order for the next few weeks. What does this mean for you?

Timeframe: The local order lasts until April 16, but Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide stay at home order effectively extends the local order until April 30.

The order requires residents to stay at home except for when they need to leave for “essential needs.”

Hopefully, this is close to what you’ve already been doing the last couple weeks — the order just shifts recommendations into a mandate. Violators could be convicted of Class II misdemeanor.

“The higher level of compliance we get with this proclamation, the shorter it will be,” said county manager Dena Diorio on Tuesday shortly after the order was announced.

Complaints: “There are still a lot of people who are not taking this seriously,” County Health Director Gibbie Harris said at a press conference Sunday, March 29, where she noted large crowds at parks and at the lake.

As of March 30, there have been approximately 300 3-1-1 calls in regards to a stay at home violation, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesperson.

On April 3, CMPD released a statement that said it had charged a manager of Cool Cave Day Spa with violating the order after the spa continued to operate despite repeated warnings.

If you would like to report activity that you believe violates the stay at home order, you can do so by calling 3-1-1.

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There are a number of things that you can still do:

  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Walk your dog or go for a run, but stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy.
  • Visit a healthcare professional if you’re not able to access one virtually. Always be sure to call first.
  • Help someone get necessary supplies.
  • Anything on our list of quarantine-approved activities.

Here’s what you can’t do:

  • Go to work unless you’re considered an essential employee (see below).
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need.
  • Visit with loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, or any other residential care facility. A facility may make limited exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
  • Travel unless it’s essential.
  • And a whole lot more (see our FAQ below).

Work: You can only go to work if you’re listed as an essential employee. The full list of essential employees is on page 8 of the order. It includes industries such as:

  • Healthcare and public health — hospital and lab personnel, pharmacists, dentists, caregivers, social workers, funeral home workers
  • Emergency services — law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, 911 call center workers
  • Financial services — bank employees
  • Water and wastewater systems
  • Food and agriculture — employees at grocery stores, restaurants, farmers
  • Government — elections personnel, customs workers
  • Communications — journalists, wireless providers, call centers
  • Transportation — bus and light rail drivers
  • Energy — utilities workers, engineers
  • Commercial facilities — hotels, motels, real estate agents
  • Critical manufacturing — manufacturers of products needed for healthcare industry, transportation, food, and other critical industries
  • Public works — employees who operate and maintain dams, bridges, and more
  • Defense industrial base — national security workers
  • Information technology — IT managers, software engineers
  • Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste — workers handling hazardous waste, nuclear facilities’ employees

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Now, let’s answer your questions.


Is there a curfew?


Do I need any paperwork to show that I’m an essential worker?

Not at this time.

What happens if I break the order?

Violators could face a Class II misdemeanor, but CMPD says its top priority is education.

How does this affect individuals who are experiencing homelessness?

Homeless individuals are exempt from the order, but they are still encouraged to practice social distancing.

What if my company is making me go to work even though I’m not an essential employee?

This should not happen, but if it does you can report your company to the help line: 704-353-1926.


Can I go to the park?

Yes, but if it’s too crowded for you to stay at least six feet away from others at all times, you should leave.

Can my kids play on playground equipment?

No. Playground equipment should be blocked off, but in the case it’s not, do not use it.

Are golf courses open?

Yes, but golf ranges should close, according to the county.

Am I allowed to go out on the lake?

Yes, you can take your boat out on the lake, but practice social distancing if you go out with others.

Is landscaping and gardening allowed?


Can I play basketball, tennis, or other sports?

No. The use of shared equipment and space is not allowed in parks and elsewhere.

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I’m an essential worker, but I don’t have childcare for my kids. What do I do?

There are people there to help. Call 1-888-600-1685 for the North Carolina childcare hotline.

I have a custody agreement to co-parent. Will this change that?



Will the ABC store stay open?


Are home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot open?

Yes, but non-essential trips are discouraged.

Are restaurants, breweries, and bars still open for takeout and delivery?


What about farmers’ markets?


Is Target open?

Yes, but remember to keep your outings to essential needs only.


Can I still use Uber/Lyft?

Yes, but non-essential travel is discouraged.

Can I go for a drive just to get out of the house?

If it’s non-essential, you should avoid leaving the house.

Are gas stations still open?



Can I still move as planned?

Yes. If you’re moving to a new home, you are still permitted to do so.

I’m in the process of buying a house. How does this order affect real estate sales?

It depends if you have money vested in a house or not. If you’re just looking to purchase real estate, showings should be done virtually only. If you have vested money, you can walk-through prior to closing following some strict guidelines:

  • No more than three people allowed in the residence at any given time (a realtor and up to two buyers).
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces touched.


Is my appointment to see the dentist still on?

This depends on your dentist. Many dentists have closed for everything but essential procedures. Check with your office to be sure.

Can I take my pet to the vet?

For essential needs, yes.

If you have any additional questions about what this means for you, call the county help line at 704-353-1926 or email us at hi@charlotteagenda.com.

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