Outer Banks COVID-19 Update as of May 14, 2021

By Molly Harrison | Friday, May 14, 2021

Things are getting much closer to pre-pandemic normals in North Carolina. With North Carolina’s COVID numbers continuing to show improvement and vaccine distribution increasing, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper has eliminated social distancing requirements in all settings, lifted the state's mask mandate outdoors for all people and lifted the mandate indoors for vaccinated people in most settings. All businesses can operate at 100 percent capacity. Details on Executive Order 215, which took effect Friday, May 14, can be found here.

Face coverings and masks are still recommended for unvaccinated people and for all people in large venues. Because most children are still unvaccinated and can spread COVID-19, the state recommends masks in child care, day camp and overnight camp settings. Masks are also recommended in some healthcare settings, airports and corrections facilities.

Employers, businesses owner and local governments are free to enact their own mask requirements, and some local businesses are not ready to eliminate the mask requirement. Keep your mask handy for now, just in case you are asked to wear it.

Be aware that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Dare County is very low but not zero. Continue to wash or sanitize your hands frequently, wear a mask if you're in a large, crowded area and wear a mask if you are unvaccinated.

Photo: Businesses can now be open at 100% capacity, and mask requirements have been lifted in most cases. We'll be seeing many more smiling faces, as seen here at The Blue Point's backBar, courtesy Facebook.


Social distancing requirements have been lifted, and gatherings of any size are allowed. 

Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants and bars can resume business as usual at 100% capacity.

Retail Businesses

Outer Banks stores can operate at 100% capacity. Some businesses may still require customers to wear a mask, so be prepared.

Things to Do

Social distancing requirements have been lifted, so all pools, museums, attractions and parks can operate at 100% capacity. Some facilities may request that you wear a mask.


Daytime and nightlife events, including live music, are rapidly returning. Check our Daytime and Nightlife listings for event information.

Have fun out there!

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.