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County Declaration Mandates Expansion of Social Distancing, Closes Certain Businesses

NOTICE: View New Stay Safe-Stay Home Local Order Article

Updated March 19, 6:40 p.m. with further clarification from BCHHS

In light of new information today regarding the presence of community spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, local jurisdictions should enforce the more stringent Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Governor’s Order of Abatement.

In Buncombe County, the Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration limits public gatherings to no more than 10 people. This order applies to all of Buncombe County and its six municipalities and went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19.

The intent of this Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Buncombe County through social distancing. Social Distancing is a specific strategy, proven by data to severely lessen the impact of high consequence pathogens by minimizing the opportunity for close contact encounters.

The declaration achieves this goal by mandating the closure of specified businesses and entertainment venues.

This Declaration applies to gyms and fitness centers (include: martial arts studios, cross-fit gyms, dance studios) indoor pools, spas (spas include: massage parlors, medical spas, nail salons, beauty parlors, hair dressers, even one chair salons, barber shops) and tattoo parlors, movie theaters, live performance venues, and arcades (including: bowling alleys, indoor recreation centers, climbing gyms, trampoline parks, escape rooms).

This is not an exhaustive list. If your business or service delivery requires you to be within 6 ft. of another person for a duration of 10 minutes or more, then it is likely that it falls within the Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration.

This Declaration does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware stores, gas stations, farmers markets, and food distribution sites selling prepared food. These are locations where the public are not generally in close contact with other patrons.

This local Declaration also mandates that there will be no public gatherings of Ten (10) persons or more. This limitation on gatherings to 10 people does not include normal operations at medical facilities, recovery groups, airports, bus and train stations, shopping malls, office environments, factories, and child care centers.

Essential health and safety services are exempt from this Declaration. Again, this is an effort to be proactive and to save lives. This next week is absolutely critical in Buncombe Counties fight against the spread of COVID-19.  These enhanced measures we are implementing now are vital in reducing the impact the disease will have on our community in the long-term. Buncombe County Public Health will re-evaluate these measures ongoing on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Initial Post:

As part of Buncombe County’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be increased measures as part of a Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration. The intent of this declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Buncombe County through social distancing. “Social Distancing is a specific strategy proven by data to severely lessen the impact of high-consequence pathogens by minimizing the opportunity for close contact encounters,” explained County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Fletcher Tove. “The declaration achieves this goal by mandating the closure of specific businesses and entertainment venues and limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people.” This order applies to all of Buncombe County and its six municipalities and is effective March 19 at 5 p.m.

Buncombe County Public Health has determined an imminent hazard exists, and this is a critical step aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing contact within a range of six feet for a duration of at least ten minutes. This Declaration applies to gyms, fitness centers and exercise facilities, indoor pools, spas, movie theaters, live performance venues and arcades.

This declaration does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware markets, gas stations, farmers markets, and food distribution sites selling prepared food. “These are locations where the public are not generally in close contact with other patrons,” said Tove.

Also, the limitation on gatherings of 10 people does not include normal operations at medical facilities, airports, bus and train stations, shopping malls, office environments, factories, and child care centers.

Please be aware, this order is more restrictive than Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 118 in regards to restaurant, bar, and brewery operations, in that it also limits outdoor gathering to 10 people or less, regardless of available space.

Buncombe County thanks you in advance for understanding this order is imperative to protect our community’s most vulnerable people while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Read the entire Supplemental Declaration of a Local State of Emergency below.

 

Table: News Item Documents
File NameSizeTypeDate & Time Added
Supplemental Declaration of a Local State of Emergency 107 KB 03/19/2020 4:07 PM
Executed Declaration 1 MB 03/19/2020 6:22 PM