July 4th safety message from Pender County’s first responders

BURGAW – With so many communities canceling firework displays, residents may be tempted to host their own July 4th celebration with store-bought fireworks. In North Carolina, fireworks that do not fly or explode are legal.

“If you plan on having fireworks only Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in North Carolina,” said Alan W. Cutler, Pender County Sheriff.

Fireworks classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, snake and glow worms, party poopers or snappers.

“Fireworks are beautiful, but they can be a recipe for serious burns and injuries,” warns Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “No one under the age of 16 years old should handle a firework unsupervised.”

Each year, fireworks are linked to a few deaths and thousands of injuries as well as causing wildfires.

“Enjoy the 4th of July weekend with family and friends and please leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Fire Marshal and Assist Emergency Management Director. “Thousands of people are injured each year and many accidental fires are started from consumer fireworks.”

“The most dangerous illegal fireworks include explosive or aerial fireworks and Roman candles,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager Director. “These are unpredictable explosives.”

Smith reminds residents that all fireworks require extreme caution, including sparklers.

Sullivan said sparklers burn at a temperature of around 2000 degrees, which can cause third-degree burns.

“Children should never handle sparklers without parent supervision,” said Sullivan. “Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and often burn the feet of children who drop a sparkler.”

Smith also reminds residents, if fireworks are exploding in a neighborhood, remember to secure your pet. Animals are often frightened by the loud noises. Pets tend to run away from the loud noises.

“Please be mindful of people and animals during this holiday weekend,” said Cutler.

Another summer concern is water safety. Pender County’s emergency responders remind us to swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present if available, and swim with others, never swim alone.

“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” said Cutler.

Pender County, as with many beach communities, has experienced rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler, Pender County Emergency Management, and Pender County EMS & Fire personnel wish you a safe and Happy 4th of July but urge caution when participating in all summer activities.

NC pauses in Safer At Home Phase 2, adds statewide requirement for face coverings.

As trends move in the wrong direction, state will not yet move into Phase 3

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks. Cooper also announced that face coverings must be worn when people are in public places as officials seek to stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread.

Cooper and Cohen were joined by Dennis Taylor, President of the North Carolina Nurses Association and Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health.

“North Carolina is relying on the data and the science to lift restrictions responsibly, and right now our increasing numbers show we need to hit the pause button while we work to stabilize our trends,” said Governor Cooper. “We need to all work together so we can protect our families and neighbors, restore our economy, and get people back to work and our children back to school.”

“I know North Carolinians are strong, resilient and care deeply about our communities. We pride ourselves on helping our neighbors. The best way we can do that now is by taking the simple action of wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. If we each do our part, we can get back to the people and places we love,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary.

Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Until now, face coverings had been strongly recommended. Under today’s executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible.

In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.

“Wearing a face covering is an easy thing to do that can make a huge impact for all of us. A major spike in cases would be catastrophic to the system, and without your cooperation, nurses and our fellow healthcare providers will have a harder time caring for sick patients for weeks and months to come,” said Dennis Taylor, a nurse, and President of the North Carolina Nurses Association.

“As the leader of the state’s largest health system, I am pro-health and also 100 percent pro-business. In fact, the two are inextricably connected and I’m very proud of the way business leaders and health experts are working together to keep our economy strong,” said Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health. “Medical science says to reduce the spread of COVID-19 masking works, and my sincere hope is that all the people of North Carolina can join forces to make wearing a mask not something we feel we have to do – but something that we want to do to keep each other, our neighbors, our children and our loved ones healthy and safe”

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the indicators moving in the wrong direction, causing officials to implement today’s pause in Phase 2.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases starting to level, but is still increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive remains elevated.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations are increasing, though we have capacity in our healthcare system.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina is averaging more than 17,000 tests a day for the past week and there are more than 500 sites listed on online plus additional pop-up sites.
• North Carolina labs and labs around the country are seeing supply shortages for laboratory chemicals needed to process tests.

Tracing Capability
• There are over 1,500 full-time and part-time staff supporting contact tracing efforts at the local health department level, including the 309 Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative contact tracers. These new hires reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and 44% are bilingual.

Personal Protective Equipment
• Our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Businesses can download templates for signs on face coverings here. Downloadable social media graphics are also available for use.

Read Executive Order No. 147 that implements the June 24 announcement.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about today’s executive Order and mandatory face coverings.

Read NCDHHS guidance on face coverings.

View the slide presentation from the June 24 briefing.

More than $8.3 million approved for Pender County debris removal

Brings Total to more than $15 Million to County for Hurricane Florence Expenses

RALEIGH, N.C. – The State of North Carolina and FEMA have approved $8.3 million to reimburse Pender County for debris removal costs following Hurricane Florence.

Funds for this project cover the removal of hurricane-related debris throughout the county such as vegetation, damaged trees, construction materials and white goods.

The approval brings the total to more than $15 million to reimburse the county’s Hurricane Florence-related expenses.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work.

Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

FEMA’s total share for this project is more than $6.2 million and the state’s share is more than $2 million.
For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

Hurricane preparedness in a pandemic

PENDER COUNTY – The 2020 Hurricane Season is predicted to have an above-average number of storms. This is difficult news for anyone who is suffering from “COVID-19 Fatigue.”

“Pender County residents have the opportunity now to prepare for a hurricane and the pandemic,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “We encourage residents to prepare for Before, During, and After a Storm.”

Before the storm is the time to think about shelter and supplies.

The first step is: Make A Plan. As we continue social distancing and taking necessary safety measures, decide: Where will you go?

“In the event of evacuation, know your zone,” said Smith. “Preplan your route by selecting a destination.”

Identify the home of a family member or friend where you can stay. Or locate an affordable hotel where you can stay.

Public shelters set up by the local health department and Red Cross should be a refuge of last resort. Due to social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the state health department, local shelters will require a sparse configuration of distancing. Officials will check the body temperatures of evacuees signing into a shelter.

Secondly, build your emergency kit.

“Now is the time to stock your essentials and have an emergency kit,” Smith said.

Supplies such as non-perishable foods, water, flashlights, batteries, a transistor radio, a manual can opener, medications, pet supplies, cash, and important documents secured in a watertight bag are essentials for an emergency kit. However, during a pandemic, you must include face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.

Every family member should have a seven-day supply of medications and toiletries, food, and water as well as a supply of hand sanitizers and face coverings. While preparing, remember to have a seven-day supply of pet supplies and pet medications, if applicable.

During a storm stay informed. Know your reliable sources of information. Don’t trust chat boards and rumors on social media. Pender County Emergency Management will post announcements on their website, Facebook page, and to local news media. Do not venture out during a storm.

After a storm flooding and down power lines may occur. Do not drive through water moving over roadways. Be aware of fire ants, bees, and use caution when operating a chainsaw. If you use a generator, do not operate it indoors.

For more information, watch our Pender County Emergency Management website or Facebook. If you have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at http://www.pendercountync.gov/em/special-disaster-information/emergency-notification-system/ or call 910-259-1210 for details.

Pender County Emergency Management is pleased to join NC Know Your Zone campaign

Twenty Coastal Counties Establish Predetermined Evacuation Zones

RALEIGH – North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry today announced the implementation of the Know Your Zone initiative for North Carolina’s coastal communities. The state has worked with 20 coastal counties to create predetermined evacuation zones to help coastal residents stay safe from the impacts of hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazards, while allowing for simple and orderly evacuations.

“The goal of Know Your Zone is to educate coastal residents and visitors about their evacuation zones so that everyone knows the zone they live in and knows to look and listen for that zone when evacuations are ordered,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “Knowing your zone and when to evacuate can save lives.”

Development of the zones by county officials began with storm surge modeling from North Carolina’s Hurricane Evacuation Study. County officials were able to use the study maps to determine potential for inundation, and combine that with population data, as well as previous local experience with coastal evacuations to draft the evacuation zones needed for their county.

Some counties only need one zone where others have up to five zones in order to evacuate as efficiently as possible without over evacuating. Some inland counties that are not as susceptible to storm surge developed evacuation zones based on river flooding.

In the past, some evacuation orders have included descriptions based on local geography and elevations. Examples include:
• All unincorporated areas of a county
• Low lying areas in a town or county
• All areas within a certain distance of a particular river or stream

“Most visitors and some residents will not know if they are in a low-lying area, or how far they are from a river or stream,” said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Having predetermined zones simplifies the evacuation process for local officials, residents and visitors.”

There is an online address lookup tool at KnowYourZone.nc.gov for residents in coastal counties to find their zone. The website also contains, county-by-county zone maps, educational materials, frequently asked questions and the North Carolina Hurricane Guide. The hurricane guide, which is available in both print and digital form, provides information for storm preparedness, response and recovery, and has been published in English and Spanish.
The Know Your Zone website is also available in Spanish at Conozca Su Zona.

The ReadyNC website continues to be the source for disaster preparedness information for North Carolina residents, with instructions on creating a family emergency plan and assembling an emergency kit. It also features live information on power outages and open shelters. ReadyNC.org is mobile friendly for phones, tablets and desktop computers and is available in English and Spanish. The ReadyNC app was retired after the 2019 hurricane season and is no longer available.

Know your Zone Pender
hurricane spanish
Hurricane

Pender County Emergency Management is pleased to join NC Know Your Zone campaign

Twenty Coastal Counties Establish Predetermined Evacuation Zones

RALEIGH – North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry today announced the implementation of the Know Your Zone initiative for North Carolina’s coastal communities. The state has worked with 20 coastal counties to create predetermined evacuation zones to help coastal residents stay safe from the impacts of hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazards, while allowing for simple and orderly evacuations.

“The goal of Know Your Zone is to educate coastal residents and visitors about their evacuation zones so that everyone knows the zone they live in and knows to look and listen for that zone when evacuations are ordered,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “Knowing your zone and when to evacuate can save lives.”

Development of the zones by county officials began with storm surge modeling from North Carolina’s Hurricane Evacuation Study. County officials were able to use the study maps to determine potential for inundation, and combine that with population data, as well as previous local experience with coastal evacuations to draft the evacuation zones needed for their county.

Some counties only need one zone where others have up to five zones in order to evacuate as efficiently as possible without over evacuating. Some inland counties that are not as susceptible to storm surge developed evacuation zones based on river flooding.

In the past, some evacuation orders have included descriptions based on local geography and elevations. Examples include:
• All unincorporated areas of a county
• Low lying areas in a town or county
• All areas within a certain distance of a particular river or stream

“Most visitors and some residents will not know if they are in a low-lying area, or how far they are from a river or stream,” said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Having predetermined zones simplifies the evacuation process for local officials, residents and visitors.”

There is an online address lookup tool at KnowYourZone.nc.gov for residents in coastal counties to find their zone. The website also contains, county-by-county zone maps, educational materials, frequently asked questions and the North Carolina Hurricane Guide. The hurricane guide, which is available in both print and digital form, provides information for storm preparedness, response and recovery, and has been published in English and Spanish.
The Know Your Zone website is also available in Spanish at Conozca Su Zona.

The ReadyNC website continues to be the source for disaster preparedness information for North Carolina residents, with instructions on creating a family emergency plan and assembling an emergency kit. It also features live information on power outages and open shelters. ReadyNC.org is mobile friendly for phones, tablets and desktop computers and is available in English and Spanish. The ReadyNC app was retired after the 2019 hurricane season and is no longer available.

hurricane spanish
Hurricane

Hurricane season has arrived, being prepared is critical

PENDER COUNTY – With the start of hurricane season, Pender County is providing hurricane preparedness information for citizens in our county. Pender County is committed to continuing to promote personal and community preparedness techniques to ensure all citizens understand their flood risk, work to mitigate that risk, and stay informed regarding hurricanes and flood events.

“Over the past few years, we have witnessed the devasting impacts hurricanes cause, especially flooding,” said Daniel Adams, Pender County Floodplain Administrator. “High winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes and floods can cause loss of life and damage to property. As we saw with the impacts of Hurricane Florence in Pender County, all hurricanes have the potential to cause significant damage, even if they are not considered a Major Hurricane of Category 3 or higher.”

Always keep these important facts in mind while preparing:

Know Your Risk: To search for general information about risks in your area, visit https://gis.pendercountync.gov/maps/ and type in your address. Click on layers and select flood zones to see what flood zone you are in or near.

Flood Alerts: To sign up for flood alerts that are tied to the nearest river gages, go to Pender County’s website and search for the webpage “Being Prepared for a Hurricane”. Instructions to sign up for alerts can be found under the Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network (FIMAN) section.

Be Prepared: Act now to be prepared for hurricane season. Make sure you have family evacuation and communication plans, update your emergency supply kit, and evaluate your flood insurance needs.

Survival Kit Supplies: Water, food (non-perishable), flashlight, battery powered or hand-crank radio (can be purchased at the Red Cross store online), extra batteries, deluxe family first aid kit, medications and medical items, multi-purpose tools, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copy of personal documents, cell phone with charger, family and emergency contact information, extra cash, emergency blanket, maps of the area, and if needed: Baby supplies, games and activities for children, pet supplies, and a manual can-opener.

Flood Insurance: Did you know that homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage from flooding? The good news is that Pender County is a member of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood insurance is available to homeowners, condo owners, apartment owners, renters and business owners. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. Areas in the floodplain are at a high risk of flooding. In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

For more information, visit the Emergency Management website or our Facebook page. If you have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at http://www.pendercountync.gov/em/special-disaster-information/emergency-notification-system/ or call 910-259-1210 for details.

NCDHHS shares health guidance to re-open public schools

Guidance formed through collaborative process with DHHS and School Leaders

RALEIGH: New health guidelines released Monday represent a first step to help North Carolina K-12 public schools find a safe way to open to in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year, health and education leaders announced Monday.

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12) lays out a comprehensive set of baseline health practices that public schools should follow to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, staff, and families. In addition to specific requirements, the Toolkit recommends practices that schools should implement to minimize spread of COVID-19 while allowing in-person teaching to resume.

Governor Roy Cooper, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, and NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen shared the guidance Monday.

“Getting children back to school to learn is a high priority, but they must be able to do so in the safest way possible,” said Governor Cooper. “Every child, family and public school educator in North Carolina deserves strong protection to lower the risk of virus spread.”

Schools are asked to plan for reopening under three scenarios – Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing, Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing, or Plan C: Remote Learning Only. NC DHHS, in consultation with the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, will announce by July 1 which of the three plans should be implemented for schools to most safely reopen. The remaining plans may be needed if the state’s COVID-19 metrics change over time.

“Opening schools will be possible if we keep working together to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will each need to do our part and practice the 3 Ws – Wear a cloth face covering. Wait six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently. These easy actions will have outsized impact in keeping viral spread low to in order to help get our children back to school,” said Cohen.

The Public Health Toolkit was developed collaboratively by DHHS and DPI with input from a range of stakeholders across the state, including local superintendents, State Board of Education members, the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council, and members of the Governor’s COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group.

“We are working together to balance the need for all of our children to get back to school – especially children who rely on public schools for their education, health, safety and nutrition – while at the same time proceeding cautiously and deliberately to protect their health and safety,” said Chairman Davis. “I know meeting these public health requirements will take a tremendous effort by our schools – but I also know we are doing the right thing and that our schools will rise to the challenge.”

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit will be a companion to operational guidance under development by DPI that will offer strategies for how to implement the public health guidance, and cover other non-health areas for reopening planning, including scheduling, instructional practice, and staff training.

“Today, North Carolinians have the important first step of returning to schools in the fall with this release of the final health guidance for schools from the NC Department of Health and Human Services,” Superintendent Johnson said. “In addition, the North Carolina education agency has already been leading workgroups, comprised of diverse stakeholders from teachers to school staff to superintendents to other support professionals, to create draft operational strategies that will help our school systems prepare for the fall. We will now seek feedback on the draft operational strategies from other stakeholders across the state to ensure that we best capture the needs of all our schools.”

The StrongSchoolsNC Public Heath Toolkit (K-12) was developed using the most current CDC guidance for schools and includes requirements and recommendations for eight areas: Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure; Cloth Face Coverings; Protecting Vulnerable Populations; Cleaning and Hygiene; Monitoring for Symptoms; Handling Suspected, Presumptive or Confirmed Positive Cases of COVID-19; Communication and Combating Misinformation; Water and Ventilation Systems; Transportation; and Coping and Resilience.

For example, it requires students and others to be screened for illness before entering school, and requires floor markings to maintain social distance. It also includes sample screening symptom checklists in English and Spanish, a flow chart protocol for handling suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a checklist of infection control supplies schools may need. The Toolkit will be updated as new health guidance is released by the CDC and additional resources are added.

Questions about the StrongSchoolsNC Public Heath Toolkit (K-12) should be directed to StrongSchoolsNC@dhhs.nc.gov (in English or in Spanish).

Strong-Schools-NC-Public-Health-Toolkit

Governor Cooper signs Executive Order to address disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 143 to addresses the social, environmental, economic, and health disparities in communities of color that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order directs state agencies and offices to provide targeted measures to help communities of color that have been affected by the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is shining a light on disparities that have long existed in our health care and economic institutions for communities of color,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Today’s Executive Order will expand our state’s efforts to help North Carolinians recover from the pandemic and improve access to affordable healthcare and quality economic opportunities in our state.”

To make sure all North Carolinians can recover physically and economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, this Order identifies specific actions North Carolina departments and agencies must take to eliminate disparities across sectors.

The Order does the following:

• Establishes the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force to focus on economic stability, health disparities, and environmental justice in North Carolina;
• Tasks the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office to ensure the equitable distribution of pandemic relief funds;
• Directs the Historically Underutilized Business Office to provide small historically underutilized businesses with access to opportunities, tools, and resources that promote equitable economic recovery and procurement of State contracts;
• Directs the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to ensure all communities have access to COVID-19 testing and related health care;
• Tasks the Office of Public Engagement to increase awareness about COVID-19, COVID-19 relief services and resources, and provide education on eliminating disparities;
• Directs the Division of Emergency Management to continue coordinating efforts to protect the food supply chain and support feeding operations at food banks and school systems;
• Directs the North Carolina National Guard to provide planning and logistical support and personnel where feasible to support mass testing of food processing plant workers in impacted communities and migrant farm workers; and
• Tasks the Department of Environmental Quality to create a common discourse on environmental justice and coordinate with state executive agencies on the integration of environmental justice considerations into current and future policies, programs, and procedures.

COVID-19 disproportionately affects communities of color for several reasons, including existing social, environmental, and health inequities. Despite making up 22 percent of North Carolina’s population, as of June 1, African Americans account for 30 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 34 percent of COVID-19 deaths in cases where race is known. Similarly, Hispanics account for 39% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, in cases where race or ethnicity is known, despite only making up about 10% of the population in North Carolina.

The Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force

The Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force will identify best practices to create economic stability, eliminate health disparities, and achieve environmental justice in North Carolina. Andrea Harris dedicated her life to eliminating disparities in North Carolina, co-founding the non-profit North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development and serving on the Advisory Council for Historically Underutilized Businesses. Secretary of the Department of Administration Machelle D. Sanders will chair the task force.

“Health inequities are the result of more than individual choice or random occurrence — they are the result of the historic and ongoing interplay of inequitable structures, policies, and norms that shape lives,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders. “I am deeply honored to carry Andrea Harris’ torch on this new task force, as we grapple with these complex and critical issues for North Carolina.”

Direct Health Assistance
The Order directs the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to use funding from the COVID-19 Recovery Act to provide COVID-19 related health services to uninsured North Carolinians during this public health emergency.

This will include health services provided by community health centers, local health departments, rural health centers, and clinics. NC DHHS is also tasked with reporting racial and ethnic demographic data; providing testing supplies and PPE to community health centers and nonprofit providers that service vulnerable communities; and partnering with community organizations to establish testing sites easily accessible to communities of color.

Economic Recovery for Historically Underutilized Businesses
Governor Cooper established the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office (NCPRO) to help North Carolina recover from the pandemic. In this Order, NCPRO has been tasked to work with each state agency to ensure COVID-19 related stimulus funds and resources are delivered equitably; to work with the Historically Underutilized Business program and advocate for the economic recovery of minority-owned businesses in the state; and to work with the Department of Commerce to guarantee the equitable distribution of Community Development Block Grants.

A certified historically underutilized business (HUB) is a business that is 51% owned by, and the day-to-day management and daily business operations are controlled by a person of color, woman, disabled, or socially and economically disadvantaged individual. The Historically Underutilized Business Office is tasked with developing and implementing a plan that stimulates economic recovery for small, historically underutilized businesses.

Government-Wide Focus
The Order also involves the Governor’s Office of Public Engagement, the Division of Emergency Management, the North Carolina National Guard, and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Read more about the Order in a Frequently Asked Questions document.

Read the full Executive Order.

As key indicators remain stable, North Carolina moves to ‘Safer At Home’ Phase 2

Phase 2, Safer At Home, begins Friday, May 22 at 5 pm

Bars, indoor entertainment venues, gyms, and public playgrounds remain closed; Restaurants, personal care businesses, and pools open with limitations & safety requirements

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

“North Carolina is using the data to guide our decisions about when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, and overall our key indicators remain stable,” said Governor Cooper. “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.”

“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen.
Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days                                                                                                                    • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS testing information website.
Tracing Capability
• The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments.
Personal Protective Equipment
• Supply chains continue to improve.

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?
Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.

Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.

Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys.

Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including:

Restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings.

Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level.

Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

NCDHHS-Interim-Guidance-for-Restaurants-Phase-2
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Phase-2-FAQ
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Read NC DHHS guidance for various sectors.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2.

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