“STAY HOME – STAY SAFE” Order issued for Buncombe County

Buncombe County has issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order that goes into effect Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8:00pm. The intent of this supplemental declaration of emergency is to further minimize all opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19. The order directs all Buncombe County, including all of Montreat, to “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and to limit movements outside of homes that are not deemed essential.

This declaration is valid through Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 6:00am, but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated which may lead to revision, amendment or extension.

Click Here to see the supplemental declaration of emergency.

Click Here for more information from Buncombe County.

Supplemental Declaration: Interpretive Guidance

Buncombe County has issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” Supplemental Declaration that goes into effect Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. The intent of this supplemental declaration is to further minimize all opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19 across the jurisdiction. This declaration directs all Buncombe County residents to “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and to limit movements outside of their homes that are not deemed essential.  This declaration is valid through Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 6 a.m., but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated which may lead to revision, amendment or extension.

This document is intended as interpretive guidance to assist the public’s understanding and interpretation of the Supplemental Declaration. It summarizes what Buncombe County Citizens can do and should not do. It draws distinction between essential and non-essential travel.  It defines and summarizes what businesses are deemed essential vs. non-essential. It attempts to answer some Frequently Asked Questions.

Under this Supplemental Declaration…
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

Activities that are considered essential:

In General, activities that fall under these categories.  Further details can be found in the Supplemental Declaration itself.

  • 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

What is the difference between “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and “Shelter in Place”?

Under a Stay Home declaration residents can still perform essential services and conduct essential travel.  Shelter in Place is a declaration that Buncombe County may use in the future.  Shelter in Place only permits Emergency travel and Emergency services, so it is fundamentally more restrictive than a Stay Home order. Buncombe County is not currently planning to enact a Shelter in Place order.

I live outside of Buncombe County. How does this affect me?

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.

What is considered essential travel?

  • 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 elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from education 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

Am I allowed to travel?

You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

Yes – but maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others.

Enforcement Activities

Can I get arrested for violating this order?

All Buncombe County Law Enforcement entities will enforce the order through education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary cooperation from all residents and businesses. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved Buncombe County Law Enforcement is equipped to enforce these restrictions through citations or misdemeanor charges. Any person violating any prohibition or restriction imposed by this order shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

How do I report a violation of this order?

Report violations to your Local Law Enforcement Agency via a Non-emergency line.

I live in (Woodfin/Black Mountain/Weaverville/Biltmore Forest/Montreat/Asheville) – does this order apply to me?

Yes – this order applies to all residents within Buncombe County.

Does this order apply to the homeless?

No – homeless are exempt from this restriction but are urged to find shelter.

Guidance on essential services under the supplemental declaration is as follows:

Essential businesses or entities, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its 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).

This guidance is mandated by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation. With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions. 

For purposes of this supplemental declaration, “Essential Business,” means:

1. Essential Health Care Operations, Including:

research and laboratory services
hospitals
walk-in-care health facilities
emergency veterinary and livestock services
elder care
medical wholesale and distribution
home health care workers or aides for the elderly
doctor and emergency dental
nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
blood drive and blood collection sites

2. Essential Infrastructure, Including:

utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
public water and wastewater
telecommunications and data centers
airports/airlines
transportation infrastructure such as roads, bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
hotels, and places of accommodation, when used Any employees who work for a business or organization deemed essential can stay in any lodging.

3. Essential Manufacturing, Including:

food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
chemicals
medical equipment/instruments
pharmaceuticals
sanitary products
telecommunications
microelectronics/semi-conductor
agriculture/farms
household paper products

4. Essential Retail, Including:

grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
pharmacies
convenience stores
farmer’s markets
gas stations
restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
hardware and building material stores
pawn shops

5. Essential Services, Including:

trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
mail and shipping services
laundromats
building cleaning and maintenance
child care services
auto repair
warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
storage for essential businesses
animal shelters

6. News Media

7. Financial Institutions, Including:

banks
insurance
payroll
accounting
notary public
services related to financial markets

8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:

homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
food banks
human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support

9. Construction, Including:

skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers 
other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure, to include public works, roads and bridges, or for emergency repair and safety purposes

10. Defense

defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government, to include the Defense Industry Base’s (DIB) Essential Critical Infrastructure

11. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, Including:

law enforcement
fire prevention and response
building code enforcement
security
emergency management and response
building cleaners or janitors
general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
automotive repair
disinfection

12. Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

logistics
technology support for online services
child care programs and services
government owned or leased buildings
essential government services

If the function of your business is not covered above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business from Buncombe County Government.
 

FOR ANY BUNCOMBE COUNTY BUSINESS LOOKING FOR EXEMPTION DURING SHUTDOWN

Buncombe County has a process to evaluate businesses and allow them the ability to continue operations as an essential business IF they are deemed to be essential by following this process. Businesses not explicitly covered in this guidance are assumed to be non-essential until they are confirmed as essential by Buncombe County Government. 

Send email to business@buncombecounty.org

In the email, provide the following:

Business Name
Point of Contact, including:

Name
Email address
Phone number
Mailing address

Nature of their business and why they should be deemed essential
Business website address

Please be aware that this is a new process and Buncombe County is experiencing a high volume of requests, so the response could be delayed.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

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