Do Your Part To Keep Everyone Safe.

The State of North Carolina requires individuals to wear a face-covering in public places. There are some exceptions to the requirement including for those dining in a restaurant, for reasons related to medical or behavioral conditions and for children under the age of 2. According to Governor Roy Cooper's issuance of Executive Order 188, an extension of the Phase 3 of COVID-19 restrictions effective Wednesday, January 8, 2021 at 5pm. The Executive order implements a modified stay at home order and requiring nighttime closure from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. and requiring nighttime closure for certain businesses and activities for all North Carolinians during overnight hours.  The Executive Order also extends the prohibition of alcohol sales past 11 p.m. nightly at restaurants statewide through January 29, 2021. The updated issuance covers all areas of Dare County including the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo and the unincorporated areas of Dare County including Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island and Dare Mainland.

Before traveling to the Outer Banks, visitors are encouraged to contact their accommodations provider to confirm their reservation and arrival plans. Local businesses who have taken the Outer Banks Tourism Pledge are stepping up to protect others.

As visitors prepare for vacation, it is important to remember that the coronavirus is not over. There are still State restrictions in effect to protect everyone’s safety that may impact the way you have vacationed on the Outer Banks in the past, including: 

Is there social distancing on the Outer Banks?

Social distancing guidelines are still in place.

Are masks required on the Outer Banks NC?

Face coverings must be worn in indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Are there group limits on the Outer Banks NC?

Group gatherings are limited to 10 people or less indoors and up to 50 persons outdoors. This is different than the small outdoor entertainment venue rules further down the page.

Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.

Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.

Businesses, including grocery stores, have limits on the number of people allowed in the store at any given time based on square footage.

What if my group staying in a vacation home is larger than the mass gathering limit?

Executive Order 181 requires face coverings to be worn indoors when non-household members are present and limits indoor social gatherings to no more than 10 people.  Vacation rentals containing guests from multiple households should comply with these requirements.

Are restaurants open on the Outer Banks?

In-restaurant dining is allowed at 50% capacity. Many restaurants are also offering the option of take-out and delivery. A list of the Dare restaurants can be found at

Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.

Are attractions open on the Outer Banks?

Museums and aquariums can open at 50% capacity.

Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.

Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.

Also, remember that the CDC recommends not to travel if you are sick or were recently exposed (within 14 days) to COVID-19. Additionally, individuals are required to wear a mask or cloth face-covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

There are new policies and staff training that businesses have put into place to protect safety. But we're going to need your help. The coronavirus is going to be out there this fall, but with a sense of personal responsibility and a continuation of practices that have slowed the virus' spread (the 3 W's: Wash your hands more frequently, Wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible, and Wait farther back in line), we can enjoy the open spaces and natural beauty of the Outer Banks.