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COVID-19 (Coronavirus Resources & Information)

This FAQ provides guidance for the implementation of Executive Order 215 (“Order”).

The state has continued to make progress in its key COVID-19 metrics and has reduced risk of transmission of COVID-19.

On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) acknowledged that the growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. In addition, the CDC issued new CDC guidance indicating that the face covering requirement and social distancing requirements can be lifted for fully vaccinated people.

In North Carolina, more than half of the population has received one vaccination dose, and North Carolina is on track to have more people be fully vaccinated and at low risk from the disease.

Therefore, considering the totality of these circumstances, the Governor has determined that the capacity restrictions, social distancing requirements, should be lifted in all settings and the general face covering requirement should be lifted in most settings. The order becomes effective on May 14, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. and will remain in effect through June 11, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Below are frequently asked questions and their answers. In addition, individuals should check with local governments to determine whether additional restrictions have been imposed in their local jurisdictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

This information is subject to change in light of new Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidance and additional executive orders, further agency guidance or local government declarations.

View a printable version of these FAQs.



Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order to Help North Carolinians Return to Work


May 21, 2021
Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Commerce to encourage and help people who are receiving unemployment benefits transition back into employment.

“Unemployment benefits have provided a critical lifeline for many North Carolinians living on the edge due to the pandemic. As our state emerges from the pandemic, we want to help people safely return to work as soon as possible. Reinstating the work search guidelines will help connect claimants with employers, resources and tools to help them return to the workforce,” said Governor Cooper.

Under Executive Order 216, all existing claimants of unemployment benefits will be required to fulfill work search requirements beginning June 6, 2021. All existing claimants will be required over the next several weeks to register with a jobseeker account on

The Order also directs the N.C. Department of Commerce to explore opportunities, consistent with federal law and through the use of certain federal funds, to establish a reemployment incentive program for jobless workers who find and maintain employment.

Today’s action expands upon Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 200, which reinstated work search requirements for new claimants after March 14, 2021. As North Carolina makes progress on its key COVID-19 metrics, the work search requirements will now apply to everyone currently filing for unemployment benefits.

Under the Order:

Claimants must make contact with at least three different employers each week and keep a record of their work search, as is required by state law. One of the three weekly job contacts can be satisfied by attending an approved reemployment activity offered by a NCWorks Career Center or a partnering agency.
To continue receiving benefits, all unemployment claimants will be required to register with a jobseeker account on, North Carolina’s online portal for employment and training services. Jobseekers can use to search and apply for jobs, access labor market information and find opportunities for workforce training. Over the next several weeks, existing claimants will receive notifications about registering for NCWorks.
Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina has distributed more than $11.7 billion in unemployment benefits across multiple state and federal programs. Approximately 245,000 North Carolinians are currently receiving benefit payments each week.

For work search assistance in North Carolina, jobseekers can contact NCWorks at or 1-855-NCWorks. Information about unemployment benefits can be found at

Read the Order.


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