Orange County will end its stay at home order on Friday, May 8, to allow residents to fully comply with state guidance as it enters Phase 1 of gradual reopening.

The county shared a release on Wednesday acknowledging it will let the county order expire, but reminding residents they still fall under the statewide stay at home order that Governor Roy Cooper modified on Tuesday. Orange County initially issued a stay at home order prior to the state government and had slightly stricter guidelines, meaning county residents were to defer the county’s instead of the state’s.

Phase 1, which Cooper laid out details about on Tuesday, allows for people in the state to leave homes for more commercial activity, but still largely encourages staying at home when possible. Social distancing, wearing face coverings, frequently washing hands and other methods of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 are expected. Many businesses that will reopen will also have requirements made by the state regarding reduced capacity, frequent sanitation and promoting telework when possible.

Strict measures have been in place over the last six weeks to slow the spread of the virus COVID-19, and to protect the public,” said Chair of the Board of Orange County Commissioners Penny Rich in the release. “We will continue to make decisions based on science and recommendations from the state, as well as the Orange County Health Director.”

In its message, the county also recommended businesses follow guidance from the Orange Water and Sewer Authority when reopening shuttered locations. The agency suggests flushing water systems and devices in buildings to remove stagnant water. Doing so brings fresh water to the businesses and reestablishes water quality, which helps prevent waterborne illnesses. More guidance from OWASA can be found on its website.

The county’s stay at home order has been in effect since March 27. does not charge subscription fees. You can support local journalism and our mission to serve the community. Contribute today – every single dollar matters.