Buncombe Co. issues ‘Stay Home – Stay Safe’ declaration

Local News

BUNCOMBE CO., NC (WSPA) – Buncombe County has issued a declaration directing residents to “Stay Home – Stay Safe” beginning Thursday at 8:00pm.

The county said the intent of the declaration is to minimize opportunities for exposure and transmission of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

Residents are being directed to limit movements outside of their homes which are not deemed essential.

The declaration is in place until April 9 at 6:00am but the could be revised or extended, according to Buncombe County.

The county released a list of guidelines for residents:

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 considered essential:

  • 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

The county also released a list of frequently asked questions regarding the declaration:

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.

Essential Businesses:

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • News Media
  • Financial Institutions, Including:
    • banks
    • insurance
    • payroll
    • accounting
    • notary public
    • services related to financial markets
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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

  1. In the email, provide the following:
    1. Business Name
    2. Point of Contact, including:
      1. Name
      2. Email address
      3. Phone number
      4. Mailing address
    3. Nature of their business and why they should be deemed essential
    4. 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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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