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February 25, 2021
Governor Cooper Eases Restrictions
Venue Capacity Significantly Increased
Sports, Movies, & Live Arts Treated Equally
North Carolina Staying Ahead of the CurveOn Tuesday, February 24th Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 195 which eased a wide variety of operating restrictions affecting the arts. Arts NC is glad to see that several of the objectives of our advocacy with the Governor Cooper’s Office and NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) have been achieved, including safely raising limits on venue capacity and equal treatment of performing arts with sports, movies, and other events. All the changes in this Executive Order will take effect at 5:00pm on Friday, February 26th.

Most indoor venues will be allowed up to 30% capacity, capped at 250, and all outdoor venues will be allowed 30% capacity with no cap. Venue capacity limits do not include performers, athletes, or staff, only guests. Dance studios will be allowed up to 50% capacity, limited for social distancing, and museums will still be able to operate at 50% capacity, but now without limiting each room to 25 persons.

In addition to these changes, the 10:00pm curfew will be lifted and alcohol can be sold until 11:00pm, including at bars which will now be able to open at 30% capacity, capped at 250. The size limit of social and other gatherings not otherwise addressed in the Executive Order will be raised from 10 to 25 people indoors and will remain at 50 people outdoors.

Arts North Carolina will continue to represent the arts and arts education sector with the Governor Cooper’s Office and NCDHHS as we to continue reopen our state and restart the arts. We are fortunate to have strong advocacy partners in this work including the NC Theatre Conference, NC Presenters Consortium, and NC Independent Venue Alliance, as well as our state government partner the NC Arts Council.

If you have any questions about the Phase 3 of Reopening and the arts, please send them to
Phase 3 of Reopening Summary for the Arts
Executive Order 195 FAQs
Additional Guidance for Phase 3 Reopening
Arts NC Champion Sponsors
Americans for the Arts LogoAmericans for the Arts and Artist Relief have released new versions of their COVID-19 Impact on the Arts Surveys. The findings will power their collective ongoing advocacy work to ensure the arts are part of the billions of dollars in relief and recovery funding.

  • We urge all arts and cultural organizations to complete the new COVID-19 Impact Survey for Organizations. This revised survey enables us to continue tracking the human and financial impacts of COVID-19 on arts organizations as well as understand the challenges with recovery and re-opening. All types of arts and cultural organizations should participate.
  • Americans for the Arts and Artist Relief, with support from the Ford Foundation, have launched a new COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists. This revised survey enables the partners to gauge what is happening to our creative economy and address what is needed to provide relief and spur recovery. All types of creative workers should participate: practicing artists, culture bearers, educators and teaching artists, creative entrepreneurs, and hobby artists. Please share this link with your artist networks.
  • Each week, Americans for the Arts publishes its updated COVID-10 Research Update that tracks the ongoing human and financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the arts. As the virus continues to rage in our communities, so does its devastation of the nation’s arts sector. Cancellations have taken place at virtually every arts organization across the country, 1 in 10 arts businesses doubt their ability to survive, and two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed. Use this weekly update to keep informed.
NEW COVID-19 Impact Survey for Organizations
NEW COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists
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Armstrong McGuire & Associates
Asheville Area Arts Council
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
Cape Fear Regional Theatre
Center for Craft
Children’s Theatre Of Charlotte
Cucalorus Film Foundation

DREAMS of Wilmington
Duplin County Schools
Gaston Arts Council
Gina Harrison /
High Point Arts Council
Jackson County Arts Council
NC Glass Center
North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators
Penland School of Craft

Pinecone: Piedmont Council
of Traditional Music
Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft
The Paramount Theatre Foundation
United Arts Council of Catawba County
Winston-Salem Symphony Association
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