Face Coverings

Face Coverings Banner

According to the CDC,if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.

As of April 30, 2021 at 5 p.m Executive Order No. 209 states that:

  • The requirement  that face coverings should be worn outdoors anytime that social distancing of at least six (6) feet cannot consistently be maintained from non-household members has been lifted
  • A face covering is still required in all public indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of the individual's ability to maintain social distance.
  • Although not required, people who have not been fully vaccinated should wear a FaceCovering outdoors when they cannot maintain at least six (6) feet of social distancing from non-household members, and all individuals should wear Face Coverings outdoors in crowded, dense, and higher-risk settings including outdoor bars and large


Read the FAQ for Executive Order No. 209.
Press Release: Gov. Cooper Issues Executive Order Relaxes State’s Outdoor Mask Mandate and Eases Mass Gathering Limits
English, Spanish, Chinese
Executive Order 209: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO209-Easing-Statewide-Restrictions.pdf

Face Covering Illustration

What Kind of Covering


Should I Double Mask - English

masks required in orange county

Face Coverings FAQ

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PDF in English, Español & Chinese

Audio in Arabic, Burmese, Karen, Kinyarwanda, & Swahili

Face Coverings Flyer for Businesses

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PDF in English & Español

Face Coverings Flyer

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PDF in English, Español, & Chinese

Face Coverings-UPDATE 10-20

Read the press release:  Orange County Extends Emergency Declaration, Mandates Face Coverings (Español, Chinese)
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): English, Español
Read the June 10th Amendment to the Declaration of State of Emergency in Orange County: English

If you feel a business is failing to adhere to the policy, please fill out this form so that an Environmental Health Specialist can work with the business to comply with the requirement:


Face Covering Requirement in Orange County

Any person age 5 or older must wear a face covering at all times while in public settings.

Orange County has mandated the use of face coverings for most:

  • Customers, employees and other users of restaurants, grocery and retail stores while they are indoors. 
  • Occupants of public transportation vehicles. 
  • People in any other indoor or any outdoor situation where they cannot maintain a 6-foot physical distance from others.

A face covering is not required:

  • For those who can’t wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition. 
  • For children under 5 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.

What is a face covering?

A face covering includes anything that covers your nose and mouth, such as a mask, scarf or bandana. Make sure your cloth face covering: 

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face 
  • Completely covers the nose and mouth

Do I need to practice social distancing if I wear a cloth face covering?

Yes. Wearing a face covering does not take the place of other public health precautions like maintaining six feet of physical distance between yourself and others, washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer), and avoiding touching your face.

How to Use a Face Covering

Face Covering Requirements for Businesses

It is an Orange County Order  that the staff of all establishments must wear face coverings properly, which means over both mouth and nose. It is a further order that community members should wear face coverings while out in public in most circumstances.

How will this be enforced?

The mandate’s goal is to protect the public health by increasing the use of masks. The declaration will be supported through education and public awareness. Individuals who do not feel comfortable in any setting should leave that setting. If you feel a business is failing to adhere to the policy, please fill out this form so that an Environmental Health Specialist can work with the business to comply with the requirement:

We will continue to document the public’s requests for service. A history of noncompliance will be the basis for legal action against an establishment as either a misdemeanor offense or seek injunctive relief under public health law in NC. Establishments may employee people who are exempt from face covering for a reason listed in the Executive or local Order.  As a reminder, chairs and tables really need to be placed properly where diners can be safe around other diners.  Post the required signs and try to have ha sanitizer available at the entrance.

Questions? Contact an Environmental Health Specialist: 919-245-2360

Thank you for Wearing a Face Covering

Thank you for wearing a face covering signage for businesses and public locations

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PDF in English, Español, English/Español, English/Chinese, English/Arabic, English/Burmese, Enligsh/Karen, English/Kinyarwanda, English/Swahili, & Multilingual

Signs for Home Use

Week3-1#MaskUPOCNC Campaign

Orange County is excited to announce the #MaskUpOCNC public health campaign.

The artist-designed poster series and corresponding social media campaign will encourage residents to “mask up” in compliance with state and county mandates.

“We know that wearing a face covering decreases the spread of the virus by trapping airborne particles, protecting yourself and others from contamination,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “By wearing a mask, you do your individual part to help protect the whole population. You wear a mask to protect others, and they wear a mask to protect you. Mask up, Orange County!”

Orange County artists Mike BensonMarcela Slade, and Bob Goldstein designed a series of eight posters depicting cultural icons encouraging the public to wear a face covering. The posters have been placed across the county.

Starting the week of July 27, residents are encouraged to share photos of themselves on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter wearing their face coverings and using the hashtag #MaskUpOCNC. One participant will be selected each week of the campaign to receive a $25 gift certificate to a local area business. Winners will be announced on Fridays.

The project is a partnership of communicators across Orange County and is led by the Orange County Arts Commission, with communicators from the Arts Commission, Orange County Health Department, Orange County Public Library, Orange County Office of Community Relations and the Town of Hillsborough on the committee. To view each work in the series, visit www.artsorange.org/maskup.

Why I Wear a Face Covering                                    

Porque Uso Una Cubierta de Tela Para la Cara

Want to share your reason for wearing a face covering? 

Send a photo of you in your mask, along with your reason for wearing (or not wearing) a face covering, to: asalas@orangecountync.gov.

Mask/Face Covering Donations Accepted

Location:Days/Times:Address:Sponsoring Agency:Notes:
Chapel Hill Fire Station 1Wednesdays & Saturdays
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
403 Martin Luther King Blvd
Chapel Hill
Town of Chapel HillLabeled container for donations
Chapel Hill Fire Station 3
Wednesdays & Saturdays
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
1615 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill
Town of Chapel Hill
Labeled container for donations
Hargraves Community CenterMonday-Friday
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
216 N. Roberson Street
Chapel Hill
Town of Chapel HillLabeled container for donations
Carrboro Police DepartmentNo specific day/time100 N. Greensboro Street
Town of CarrboroBin located outside

How can I make a Face Covering?

Sewn Cloth Face Covering instructions

Instructions from the CDC on how to make a sewn face covering are available here.

Non-sewn Face Covering


  • Bandana, old-t-shirt, or square cotton cloth (cut approximately 20” x 20”)
  • Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)

No Sew Mask How To

Make sure your cloth face covering:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Completely covers the nose and mouth
  • Is secured with ties or ear loops
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric
  • Allows for breathing without restriction
  • Can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape


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There is a reason behind every mask. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask. Learn more at: ncdhhs.gov/WhateverYourReason

Get Behind the Mask SPA


Hay una razón detrás de cada mascarilla. Cualquiera que sea tu razón, ponte la mascarilla. Aprende más: ncdhhs.gov/CualEsTuRazon

Mask video


How to wear, take off, and care for a face covering to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

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Learn how to make an EASY no-sew t-shirt face mask. All you need is a t-shirt, scissors, something to write with and paper to DIY your own functional face mask. Please note, these are not medical grade face coverings.

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Surgeon General,  Dr. Jerome Adams, shares ways to create your own face covering in a few easy steps.

Face Covering from Tshirt


5 different ways to make a no sew mask out of a shirt as well as instructions for making one from a sock and a sewn mask.

Indoors vs Outdoors


This short video explains the risks of our normal activities and the benefits of masks and distance.

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