COVID-19 Updates


Small businesses: Scroll down below the government updates to find small business disaster relief programs.


Governor Roy Cooper extends Stay at Home order through May 8

April 23, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 135, extending North Carolina’s Stay at Home order through May 8th, 2020. Closure of dine-in service for restaurants and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses is also extended through May 8th.

Governor Cooper shared details about North Carolina’s plan to lift restrictions in three phases once the data show that key metrics are headed in the right direction.

“The health and safety of people in North Carolina must be our top priority,” Cooper said. “This plan provides a roadmap for us to begin easing restrictions in stages to push our economy forward.”

Last week, Governor Cooper laid out the path forward centered on three things: testing, tracing and trends. Today, Governor Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of NC Department of Health and Human Services, shared more specifics on those key metrics. The Stay At Home and other orders are extended today because North Carolina has not yet seen a downward trajectory of those metrics needed to begin gradually lifting restrictions.


Click here to read Governor Cooper’s full press release.


Avery County Government Press Release 01 April 2020 - COVID-19 Response - Avery County Government Orders Citizens and Visitors for Overnight Stays to Self-Quarantine for 14 Days; Extends time on Short-Term Rentals Suspension

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to pose a looming threat to the health and safety of the people of Avery County. Avery County Government continues to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of the disease through all appropriate means.

Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., all residents and non-residents of Avery County arriving for overnight stays are ordered, while present in the County, to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days or 7 days after symptoms have resolved, whichever time period is longer, if arrival was preceded by overnights outside the County. The only exceptions to this provision are the commuting “essential” workforce and emergency response responders and workers as coordinated through the Avery County Office of Emergency Management, the Avery County Emergency Management Director, the Toe River Health Department Director, and/or the Avery County Sheriff and their designees.

Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1 p.m., all Lodging Facilities, including, but not limited to, hotels, motels, resorts, inns, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, RV Parks, vacation cabins, home rentals and any and all rentals or leases by Air-BnB, Homeway, VRBO and other rental programs or places where leases or use of any are for less than one month duration, shall be closed in Avery County, including in its incorporated municipalities, EXCEPT the exemptions as hereinafter set forth.

Exemptions

1. Work-related Exemptions: This closure does not apply if a lease or extended overnight accommodation is due to work here in Avery County for business, medical construction, emergency services or other related services. In this situation, the employee staying at the lodging facility should have their employer provide their work related identification badge or a letter from employer stating the purpose of the work to be performed in Avery County and the expected duration of the stay.

2. Homeless shelter: This closure does not apply to lodging facilities need to house the homeless in an emergency or otherwise.

3. Emergency Facility: This closure does not apply to a lodging facility if used as an emergency facility to assist with COVID-19 response.

This provision is to remain in effect until April 29, 2020 unless modified or extended.

By and with consent of the mayors of the municipalities within Avery County, this provision pertaining to lodging facilities applies within the municipal limits of Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Crossnore, Elk Park, Newland, Village of Grandfather Mountain and Seven Devils.

Upon the consent of the mayor or Board of the Village of Sugar Mountain, this provision shall apply to such municipality.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as together, we beat this pandemic.

If you are the owner of a business and have any questions or concerns, please call Phillip Barrier, County Manager at 828-733-8201.


COVID-19 Response – Local State of Emergency - Avery County Government Suspension of All Short-Term Rentals Effective Immediately

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to pose a looming threat to the health and safety of the people of Avery County. Avery County Government continues to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of the disease through all appropriate means.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., Avery County government, the Health Department, Emergency Management, and Sheriff’s Office are requiring that lodging facilities, for example, air bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, timeshare units, condos, motels, hotels, and other rental programs or places where leases or rentals are for less than one month in duration, be suspended in Avery County until April 18, 2020. This action is consistent with actions taken by other communities across the state and nation to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus due to human travel.

Human travel promotes the spread of this disease and the presence of visitors in Avery County has the potential to exacerbate the spread of the virus and the anticipated strain on our limited healthcare facilities caused by it. This suspension is to assist in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in a manner and at a pace that overwhelms the County’s ability to respond effectively in the coming days.

Exemptions are allowed for work related stays, emergency facilities and homeless shelters. We understand that rentals for work related stays for construction workers or other essential services already in place will need to continue.

We also recognize the need to allow the use of hotels and other facilities for emergency service workers, essential service workers, displaced residents needing shelter, and other response and mitigation efforts related to COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks.

We realize that this places a burden on the hotel accommodations and short-term rental sector of our economy and this requirement is not made lightly.

This requirement is in effect until April 18, 2020, but the County will be constantly monitoring the need for this and may lift the requirement earlier if it is not needed to protect the public health.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as together, we beat this pandemic.

If you are the owner of a business and have any questions or concerns, please call Phillip Barrier, County Manager at 828-733-8201.

Click here to read the official declaration.



COVID-19 Response: Avery County Government COVID-19 Call Center

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to pose a looming threat to the health and safety of the people of Avery County. Avery County Government continues to be proactive. In order to provide accurate information to Avery County Citizens who have questions about Avery County’s and the State of North Carolina’s response to COVID-19 including the Executive Stay at Home Order, the Short-Term Rental Suspension, and Avery County State of Emergency, a county call-center has been set up Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The call center number is 828-373-0091.


Disaster Loan Relief for Small Businesses


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

PPP provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Important details and updates: (1) Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. (2)Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll and other eligible expenses. (3) Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.

When to Apply: Starting April 3, 2020 (this Friday), small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020 (next Friday), independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.

How to Apply: PPP loans are issued directly by banks and other participating lenders. Check with your bank or credit union to see if they are participating and ask how you can get in line to apply. A list of participating lenders, as well as additional information and full terms, can be found at www.sba.gov's PPP page.


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and $10,000 Grants

SBA EIDL loans are low-interest loans (3.75%) of up to $2 million, with a period of principal and interest deferment, that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. The CARES Act added the ability to request an advance grant up to $10,000 to be received within 3 days of submitting your EIDL application.

Key details: SBA has relaunched its EIDL online portal and is now accepting applications for the $10,000 grant requests. The advance grant does not need to be repaid under any circumstance. Already applied for an EIDL? You can still request the advance grant but will need to go back through the online portal to do so. It’s not automatic. You can do both PPP and EIDL but they have to be for different purposes. The EIDL grant will be subtracted from any PPP forgiveness amount.


Small Business Debt Relief Payment Program

If you have a non-disaster SBA loan (7A, Community Advantage, 505, Microloan), SBA will cover all loan payments on these for 6 months. Key details: If you have one of these loans, you are included in the program – you don’t have to do anything to apply for this assistance. SBA will make your payments directly to your lender. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans under one of these programs within 6 months.



The following slides are from a recent conference call with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Relief Assistance program and the North Carolina Rapid Recovery program regarding available assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The links in the slides are not clickable; use the links above instead. We encourage all small businesses to explore opportunities for relief through these organizations.



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