Throughout the wake of COVID-19 and practicing social distancing, information and resources will be posted here under “What You Need to Know: COVID-19 in Buncombe County”
North Carolina had 636 cases of coronavirus confirmed by Thursday evening. Two NC residents have died from complications associated with the virus, a Cabarrus County resident in their 70s with several underlying health conditions and a Harnett County resident in their late 30s.
Effective immediately all City of Asheville parks, including dog parks, playgrounds, and outdoor courts, are closed until further notice.
A UNC Asheville student has tested positive for COVID-19. The school said the student hadn’t been on campus since March 6 and was now in self-quarantine. UNCA extended spring break through March 20 and students are now having remote lessons this week.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the Biltmore Estate to temporarily close. This popular destination and the large-scale employer will issue refunds for guests with tickets or reservations during the impacted time.
Buncombe County issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” Supplemental Declaration that will be in effect tonight Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 8 pm and will be valid through Thursday, April 29, 2020, at 6 am but will be regularly monitored and evaluated which may lead to revision, amendment or extension.
All current Buncombe County residents, including Woodfin, Black Mountain, Weaverville, Biltmore Forest, Montreat and Asheville citizens, are ordered to stay in place at their residence and to limit movements outside of their homes that are not deemed essential.
The intent of the declaration is to further minimize all opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19 across the jurisdiction.
Only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.
The declaration states that:
- All non-essential businesses must cease.
- Essential businesses must still comply with the social distancing guidelines; 6 feet apart and takeout, delivery and/or drive-through only.
- If you work in Buncombe County, then your business/employer must comply with this order. You are allowed to travel through Buncombe County and conduct essential activities within Buncombe County and to return home.
- Religious services must only meet via video or telecom. And there must be less than 10 people at the establishment to perform the service.
- All elective medical procedures have been prohibited in Buncombe County.
- You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities
- While engaging in outdoor activities remember to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others.
- The houseless are exempt from this restriction but are urged to find shelter.
- Essential businesses or entities, including any for-profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or it’s corporate or entity structure, are not subject to these restrictions. Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health i.e. social distancing and sanitation practices.
- Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers and other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure, including public works, roads and bridges, or for emergency repair and safety purposes, are also exempt from the declaration.
Under a Stay Home declaration, residents can still perform essential services and conduct essential travel. To review what Buncombe County Citizens can do and should not do, the essential and non-essential travel, what businesses are deemed essential vs. non-essential visit the Buncombe County website.
Buncombe County residents can:
- Go to the grocery and convenience store
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and healthcare necessities
- Visit a health care facility for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first!)
- Go to a restaurant, for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru service only
- Care for or support a friend, family member, or pet
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog (as long as social distancing measures are maintained)
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian
- Help others to get necessary supplies
- Receive deliveries from any business that delivers
Buncombe County residents should NOT:
- Go out at all if they are sick
- Go to work, unless providing essential services as defined by this order
- Visit friends and family if there is no specific, urgent need
- Be closer than 6 feet from others if out in public
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skill nursing facilities, or other residential care facilities, except for limited exceptions as provided by the specific facility
- Travel, except for essential travel and activities.
- Engage in door-to-door solicitation
- Engage in public or private social gatherings (any amount of people)
- For health and safety
- To get necessary supplies and services
- For outdoor activities (walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, using greenways)
- For work for essential businesses/operations
- To take care of others
- Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, or minimum basic operations.
- Travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services
- Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
- Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel
FCOVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented challenge—for our community and for people everywhere. There are many in our community who are working hard to ensure all our neighbors are cared for. This is a quickly evolving situation and many of our community partners are still determining how they can best use volunteers.
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is connecting community partners in Buncombe County with the resources they need to effectively serve individuals and families. The work of their volunteer center, Hands On Asheville-Buncombe, serves as a dynamic inventory of volunteer opportunities that address relief efforts. The content will be updated as opportunities are developed in the days and weeks to come.
If you wish to volunteer in response to COVID-19
Before you begin thinking about volunteering, ask yourself – Am I well enough to volunteer?
- Your safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19 is everyone’s main priority. We encourage you to review and adhere to the recommendations on the Buncombe County readiness site on how best to avoid COVID-19 and what to do if you think you might have it.
- If you are an older adult or have a chronic medical condition, we suggest you stay at home and look for remote volunteer opportunities as they arise.
If you are well enough and wish to connect with the United Way for volunteer opportunities, please complete the steps below:
- Sign-up for volunteer opportunity alerts here. Most up-to-date information will be shared via this link.
- Sign-up for COVID-19 volunteer opportunities as they are listed on United Way’s website.
The first resource is United Way 211, a free and confidential phone service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call 24/7 if you have questions about general community support services. NC 211 is a valuable source of information and referrals for individuals and families experiencing hardship as a result of school and business closures. Right now, United Way is updating the resources in its database to reflect community response efforts and preparing for a dramatic spike in call volume as a result of the crisis. They’ve also created a special page of Buncombe County resources that you can find on their website at https://www.unitedwayabc.org/