September 28, 2020

Volume X, Number 272

September 28, 2020

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Will Your Business Need a Re-Entry Certificate in the Event of a NC Shelter-In-Place Order?

It will not for a statewide shelter-in-place order, at least according to guidance from the N.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

However, each local order is different and each jurisdiction will direct its law enforcement officers and public health officials to enforce shelter-in-place orders possibly in very different ways.  

The State DPS maintains a Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) that coordinates how and when a business' employees can travel within a declared disaster area.  Ward and Smith obtained guidance from the BEOC and it is available here

The guidance provides that re-entry certificates "are ONLY relevant when there are restrictions on movement, such as in the case of a curfew imposed by local officials . . . . Thus, these Re-entry Certificates are ONLY needed in local jurisdictions that have imposed curfews or other specific restrictions on movement. Decisions about entry/re-entry are the authority of local governments."  In addition, the guidance states that "[a] Re-entry Certificate is not necessary or relevant to keeping a business open in the event of a 'Stay at Home' Order by the state or a local government" and that "[a] Re-entry certificate is not relevant or necessary for movement between your home and place of business."

To say that the COVID-19 virus has created an environment of uncertainty may be the understatement of the year.  With that uncertainty comes a great deal of speculation and questions.  For example, many counties such as Wake, Mecklenburg, Pitt, and Orange have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders.  The City of Durham similarly issued a stay-at-home order.  Each order is unique and has slightly different rules and requirements, all intended to keep the residents of those localities, and healthcare workers, safe and healthy while reducing the spread of COVID-19.

You might think that the only way to answer these questions is to check with the specific city and county where you live and where your business is located.  What if, for example, you live in a county with no current restrictions while your business operates in a county currently under a stay-at-home order?  We have found  that cities and counties are overwhelmed by the public health crisis.  Many are simply unable to provide specific guidance to each business.  Therefore, businesses themselves are left trying to figure out how they are impacted.  Consulting with an attorney may be the best way to determine how a stay-home or shelter-in-place order impacts you and your business.    

Accordingly, businesses should consult the recent guidance from the BEOC. Businesses should also pay close attention to city and county restrictions, seek guidance from elected officials, and talk to experienced legal counsel to determine if their business operations are affected.  Image of First Page of BEOC Guidance


© 2020 Ward and Smith, P.A.. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 88


About this Author

Marla S. Bowman, Ward Smith, business, civil, and commercial litigation matters

Marla's practice experience focuses on a broad range of business, civil, and commercial litigation matters in state and federal court.  Clients rely on Marla for her advice regarding business and family disputes, which often are one and the same.  She also frequently represents clients in cases involving contract disputes.  

Marla focuses on using the rules of civil procedure to pursue her clients' objectives while following legal trends to pursue newly opened avenues of redress for her clients.  Businesses can rely on her to utilize the latest...

James Nordent, Government Relations Attorney, Ward and Smith Law FIrm
Government Relations Attorney

Jamie works regularly with individuals, corporations, and governmental entities on a variety of complex legal matters.  His experience in substantive areas of the law includes government contracts (with an emphasis on local, state, and federal construction contracts and the procurement of goods and services), government relations and lobbying (including campaign finance and ethics issues), and economic development law (especially public-private partnerships and incentives).  Jamie has extensive experience with board governance issues, open meeting and public records laws, and military economic development initiatives.  He provides legal services to corporations, individuals, cities, counties, public housing authorities, community colleges, and other independent subdivisions of the State.