Orange County Extends Emergency Declaration, Mandates Face Coverings

COVID-19 Resource Center,

Orange County has extended its COVID-19-related state of emergency through Aug. 31 and has mandated the use of face coverings in many situations.

The face covering requirement, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, June 12, applies to:

  • All customers, employees and other users of restaurants and grocery and retail stores while they are indoors.
  • All occupants of public transportation vehicles.
  • Anyone in an indoor or outdoor situation where they cannot maintain a 6-foot physical distance from others.

Face coverings are not required:

  • For people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.
  • For those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition.
  • For children under 12 years old.
  • For restaurant customers while they are dining.
  • In private offices.
  • When complying with directions of law enforcement officers.
  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering when obtaining or rendering goods or services.
  • While with family or household members.

Local leaders speak

Orange County leaders are emphasizing the importance of the face covering requirement.

Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart: “Today’s declaration is part of our broader strategy to protect public health and slow the spread of the coronavirus in our community. By covering your face when you are out in public, you are helping reduce the risk of infecting those around you. Until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, face coverings are a part of our new normal. We know it will take some time to get used to, but it will help save lives.

Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners Penny Rich: “With the recent uptick of positive cases in our state and county it is vitally important for us to remain vigilant in order to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of this virus. Wearing a face covering, physical distancing and hygiene are critical steps. This is why we are amending the order to require face coverings in any indoor or outdoor situation in which people cannot maintain a safe physical distance.”

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle: “I appreciate that many of our residents have voluntarily been wearing face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. With the opening of more businesses, and as community members are going out more, asking everyone to wear a face covering while indoors and in public spaces where they cannot physically distance is a logical next step. Thanks to everyone for doing their part to keep us all safe.”

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger: “We are taking this additional step based on the advice of our healthcare professionals who caution that the virus can be spread unknowingly by people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.” Hemminger also stressed the importance of the three Ws: wearing a face covering, waiting at least 6 feet apart and washing hands frequently.

Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver: “Wearing a face covering is one of the most effective ways of slowing the spread of COVID-19 when there is widespread compliance. This is how we take care of our community — I wear a covering because it protects others around me, and they wear one because it protects me. Let’s count on each other to keep Hillsborough healthy and thriving.”

Related Documents

Reliable Information

For the latest information and guidance relating to Orange County’s COVID-19 response:

  • Visit
  • Receive daily text updates Monday through Friday on the crisis by texting 888-777 with OCNCHEALTH for English speakers and OCNCSALUD for Spanish speakers.
  • Sign up for a twice weekly e-newsletter about the COVID-19 response via the county website.
  • Follow the Orange County Health Department on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updates its COVID-19 case count dashboard daily at 12 p.m.

This information was originally posted on Orange County's website here.