Extension Update Regarding Executive Order 195

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Based on the most recent Executive Order 195 (February 24, 2021), here are some changes that affect Extension. In addition, we are working to further clarify outdoor activities such as field days, so there will be more to come on this.

While some restrictions are loosening, the situation remains dynamic and guidelines could change again in either direction. In the meantime, all other best practices and guidelines set forth by NC State and your local officials still apply — see the university’s community standards.

There is still much work to be done as vaccination efforts continue statewide (see COVID-19 Vaccine Resources), but I continue to be inspired by everyone’s dedication and creativity!

Important Considerations

  1. Remember that the Executive Order indicates that those providing instruction do not count towards the numbers for an event.
  2. Previous guidance on livestock shows and sales is not affected.
  3. For indoor social gatherings and events, attendance is increased from 10 to 25. However, for meetings where attendees are in seats and distanced, there is now an allowance, beyond just convention spaces, to include all meeting spaces with attendees up to 30% of the fire capacity (max 250 people per room). This applies to each meeting space within a building. If you feel that you cannot control any social gathering that may take place at a meeting, you should consider not exceeding the limit of 25. Also remember that masks are required regardless of social distancing indoors.
  4. Outdoor spaces are still set at 50 persons unless they have defined seating, in which case the numbers are 30% of rated capacity up to 250 persons.
  5. For both indoor and outdoor spaces, if no fire code with a stated capacity is posted and you want to exceed the limit of 25 persons, then the limit is no more than 7 persons per 1000 square feet.
  6. As stated above, we are waiting on the advice of counsel regarding how this limit may affect field days and other outdoor events where a defined seating venue is not being used. These may continue to fall under the “mass gatherings” limit of 50 or we may be able to allow larger groups depending on how the group is handled.
  7. These new numbers apply to all areas of Extension, including 4-H, agriculture and FCS.
  8. Finally, remember that all workers and guests must wear face coverings when they are or may be within an indoor facility. When outdoors, workers and guests must wear face coverings when they are within 6 feet of someone who does not reside in the same household. For most of our events, administering this outdoor requirement may be difficult, so requiring face masks at all times may be the best option.
Thanks and stay well,