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”
Organizations and events around the country are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Just Economics is in the process of creating a plan for all of our upcoming meetings and events. Stay tuned for regular updates.
Just Economics is in the process of creating a plan for all of their upcoming meetings and events. Visit their website for updates.
Temporary ART bus schedule reductions announced.
The health and safety of our community is the City of Asheville’s highest priority. The ART Transit system continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic so we can offer transportation to first responders, health-care workers, other essential workers, and our community for urgent needs.
The ART transit staffing levels are lower than usual and, as such, ART bus system will need to make adjustments to schedules and routes.
Starting on Saturday, April 4, the following service reductions will begin:
- Route 170 will be discontinued.
- Route S6 will be discontinued.
- Route WE1 will only provide service once per hour, leaving the station at 40 minutes past the hour.
Assessment of the transit system capacity will happen on a day-to-day basis, and be updated as the situation evolves. The City of Asheville and ART are continuing to follow the guidance of local public health officials and the CDC, including following social distancing and cleaning guidelines.
Please, if you are not traveling for work related to an essential business, or for an urgent personal need, such as to go to the grocery store, do not use the bus system. We need to keep our limited capacity available for people who must travel.
To keep up with any changes to ART services, riders can get the most up-to-date information here:
- Download the Transit app to any smartphone.
- Check real-time transit information on Google Maps.
- Dial 828-253-5691 and press #1.
- Subscribe to iRide Service Alert e-mails here.
- Go to RideTheART.com under “Service Alerts.”
- Follow the City of Asheville on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Find a copy of this press release on Asheville City Source.
Over the past few weeks, Buncombe County has received hundreds of inquiries from our community regarding COVID-19. In a close partnership, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville have organized and launched the Ready Team call center, a resource to help answer your COVID-19-related questions and direct you to the best resources.
This is an evolving situation and information is often changing. The Ready Team call center will answer COVID-19 questions from Buncombe County residents as well as questions related to the Buncombe County’s Stay Home. Stay Safe. Declaration.
You can reach the Ready Team call center at 828-419-0095 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. In a partnership with United Way’s 211, the call center will have options for Spanish, Russian and multiple other languages. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
On March 27, the U.S.. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus bill, builds on H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to provide economic relief and health care options amidst the growing COVID-19 pandemic. This global public health crisis has served as an urgent reminder that our collective health and well-being are deeply interdependent and that it is crucial to have inclusive recovery policies in order for all of us to be healthy and safe.
Nevertheless, these bills fall short of meeting the most basic health care and economic needs of millions of Americans, including immigrant workers and families who are on the frontlines of caring for our communities during this pandemic, providing crucial services while others are able to shelter at home.
The purpose of this policy brief is to provide information on the COVID-19 relief package’s impact on low-income immigrants and suggestions for urgently needed improvements in any future relief bills, with a focus on health, public benefits, economic support, and employment protections. Please note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis of the bill.
SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMMIGRANT ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
- Safe Spaces in Health Care Centers
- Keeping Spaces Safe Is Critical to the Broader Community’s Safety
MEASURES TO PROTECT WORKERS
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave
- Tax Credits for Self-Employed Workers
- Unemployment Insurance
- Worker Protections in Aid to Businesses
- The 2020 Recovery Rebate
- Eligibility for the Rebate
- Accessing the Rebate
- Access to Health Care
- Halt Implementation of New Public Charge Rules
- Safety Considerations for Immigrant Access to Health Care
- Measures to Protect Workers
- Economic Support
On April 2, Pisgah District Ranger, Dave Casey, announced the closures of some of its most heavily visited areas, including trailheads in Bent Creek and Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest. At this point, just the trailhead parking is closing, not the trails themselves but more closures are expected soon.
“We have temporarily shut down access to some recreation sites and are assessing areas that continue to attract large crowds in order to determine whether to temporarily shut down access to these sites as well.”
The Forest Service had already closed all campgrounds, offices, visitor centers and bathrooms in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, as well as heavily used picnic areas including Sycamore Flats, all shooting ranges and off-highway vehicle trails.
As of April 2, the following popular areas are now closed until further notice:
- Half of the Black Mountain trailhead on U.S. 276
- One entrance to the Pisgah Ranger Station/Visitor Center on U.S. 276
- The lower portion of Avery Creek Road and associated designated roadside campsites.
- Coontree Recreation Area
- Looking Glass Falls Recreation site. The falls are barricaded and parking on U.S. 276 will be limited.
- Looking Glass Falls Picnic Area
- Pink Beds Recreation Area
- NF State Road 816 at the Blue Ridge Parkway intersection at Black Balsam
- Rice Pinnacle trailhead in Bent Creek Experimental Forest
- Bent Creek Road and the associated Ledford Branch trailhead
“The goal is to get voluntary compliance. When we find people (in closed areas), we are asking them to leave,” she said.
Trailheads and parking areas will have signs posted warning of the closures and the need to practice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s health and safety guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus, including washing hands frequently with soap and water, keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet from other people, limiting groups to less than 10 and staying home if you are sick.
Visit the Forest Service website for a complete list of closures that will be updated continually.
Other sites around WNC that have been closed can be found on the Citizen-Times website.
The Blue Ridge Parkway remains open.