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09.04.2020 Combined Federal, VA and NC Government Resources for COVID-19 By: Hon. David B. Albo, Jordan E. Chillon, Matthew M. Cobb, Patrick A. Cushing, Nicole Pugar Lawter, Sarah M. Patterson, Elizabeth O. Rafferty & Richard A. "Rick" Zechini

Virginia Resources Updated: July 29, 2020
North Carolina Resources Updated: October 2, 2020

COVID-19 Key Resource List (Virginia):

Commonwealth of Virginia Official COVID-19 Website

This website is a comprehensive resource that provides information pertaining to official actions, guidance, updates, and information about the novel coronavirus. The Department of Social Services has recently launched a website to streamline access to resources and guidance for citizens.

Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates

Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.

Recent Updates

On Tuesday, July 28, Governor Northam announced new restrictions beginning at midnight on Friday, July 31 for the following localities: Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County, and York County.

  • All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
  • Prohibit the on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room.
  • Indoor dining in these establishments will be limited to 50 percent capacity.
  • Public and private in-person gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, down from a previous cap of 250 people.


Here is a link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders and Directives.

COVID-19 Additional Resources (Virginia):

Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vec.virginia.gov/

  • Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period for benefit payments.
  • Information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses and benefits for workers previously not covered by traditional unemployment insurance.
  • Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if their employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from his or her employer, he or she may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if he or she must stay home to care for an ill family member and is not receiving paid family medical leave from his or her employer.
  • Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.


Department of Labor and Industry https://www.doli.virginia.gov/

  • On July 15, 2020, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted §16 VAC 25‐220, Emergency Temporary Standard, Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus.
  • The text of the standard is currently being finalized and will be posted on the Department’s website as soon as it is available.
  • In accordance with Va. Code §40.1‐22(6a), the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will take immediate effect upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation, published in the City of Richmond, Virginia.  
  • The Department anticipates that publication of the ETS will occur during the week of July 27, 2020, although the exact date is not known at this time.
  • Covered employers will be given 60 days from the effective date of the ETS to develop and train employees on their infectious disease preparedness and response plan required under §16 VAC 25‐220‐70. Covered employers will be given 30 days to train employees on the standard under §16 VAC 25‐220‐80.
  • Training and outreach products are being developed by the Department’s Cooperative Program Division and will be made available to the regulated community and employees.


Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 information.
  • Share the Facts about COVID-19 resource.
  • What to do if you’re sick resource.
  • What to do if you have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A daily update of the number of Virginians tested and the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths.


Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid): www.dmas.virginia.gov

  • Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
  • Ensuring current Medicaid recipients do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permitting Medicaid recipients to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
  • Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that already are in place.
  • Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.


Secretary of Commerce and Trade: https://www.commerce.virginia.gov/covid-19/

  • Resources for Virginia businesses impacted by COVID-19 including federal loan and tax relief programs for small and large businesses.
  • State Agencies resources for businesses.


CARES Funding allocated to date

  • $7.1 billion in direct federal grants have been allocated to Virginia (as of June 12).
  • $4.6 billion provided directly to the state or state agencies.
    • $3.1 billion CARES Act State Assistance.
    • $305.4 million K-12/Gov’s Fund for Education.
    • $456.4 million for Transit, and numerous other grants or supplemental funding.
  • $1.7 billion provided to health care providers.
  • $343.9 million to higher education institutions.
  • $135.4 million to local government and community organizations.
  • $309.7 million to airports.
  • $650 million in additional Federal Medicaid matching funds is projected (this is currently the only federal funding that can help offset Virginia's revenue loss).
  • $14.4 billion has been provided to small businesses in the Commonwealth.
  • Additional CARES ACT funds could be allocated in the future.


COVID-19 KEY RESOURCE LIST (North Carolina):

North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website

This website is a comprehensive resource concerning North Carolina’s response to COVID-19.

Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates

Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients and have helped by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.

North Carolina Reopening
As background, Governor Roy Cooper’s three phase reopening plan relies on North Carolina’s progress on certain measurable factors. Below are the factors and in parentheses the result needed for each factor for the State to continue to the next phase:

  • COVID-like syndromic cases (decrease or sustained level)
  • Number of cases (decrease or sustained level)
  • Number of cases as a percentage of the number of tests (decrease or sustained level)
  • Hospitalization numbers (decrease or sustained level)
  • Testing (5,000 to 7,000 per day)
  • Ability to conduct tracing (500 professionals performing tracing)
  • Supply of PPE (greater than a 30-day supply)


Phase 3.0

Pursuant to Executive Order 169 North Carolina moved into Phase 3.0 on Friday, October 2nd. The significant modifications from Phase 2.5 are as follows:

  • The outdoor areas of bars may open at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less.
  • Outdoor amusement parks may open at 30% capacity.
  • Large outdoor venues with an overall capacity of greater than 10,000 can open at 7% capacity.
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues may operate at 30% of outdoor capacity or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Private meeting spaces in a hotel, conference center, meeting hall, or reception venue may operate at 30% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less.
  • Movie theaters can operate at 30% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less. The capacity limit applies to each screen.
     

Highlights of Phase 3.0:

  • Allows gyms, fitness centers and other sports-oriented businesses to open.
  • Allows restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limits on occupancy and other specific requirements.
  • Extends the prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption after 11pm. 
  • Allows child-care businesses to open, as long as they follow state health guidelines.
  • Allows overnight camps to operate, following specific public health requirements and guidance
  • Allows personal care, grooming, massage, and tattoo businesses to open with specific requirements.
  • Allows indoor and outdoor pools to open at 50% occupancy, following specific public health requirements.
  • Increases the threshold for impermissible mass gatherings to no more than twenty-five people indoors or more than 50 people outdoors.
  • Lowers the age threshold for face coverings to five years of age or older.
  • Requires employers to make a good faith effort to provide face coverings to employees.
  • Teleworking continues to be encouraged whenever possible.
  • Recently enacted legislation (HB 118) requires businesses, non-profits and government offices to provide reasonable notice at each premises of the actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to individuals present on the premises.


Retail Requirements
The capacity limit for retailers is the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (retail businesses that do not have a stated fire capacity must limit customer occupancy to twelve customers for every thousand square feet of total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers).
  • The number of people in the store so that everyone can stay six feet apart.


Other requirements include:

  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at deli counters and near high-demand products.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Local governments are preempted from regulating maximum capacity of retail operations.


The Phase 1 requirement to provide hand sanitizer, when available, was moved to a recommendation in the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidance document, which can be found here.

Restaurants
Restaurants are defined to include, but are not limited to, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food courts, and food kiosks. The definition also includes locations within other businesses or facilities, including, but not limited to, airports, shopping centers, educational institutions, and private or members-only clubs where food and beverages are permitted to be consumed on-premises.

Restaurants are allowed to operate subject to capacity restrictions that limit occupancy to the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
  • The number resulting when people are spaced in groups so that they can stay six feet apart.
  • The number required so that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. In addition, each group of customers sitting at a counter should be separated from other groups by six feet.


The other requirements that apply are as follows:

  • No more than ten people at the same table, unless they are members of the same household.
  • Restaurant workers are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when they are within six feet of another person.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., dining tables, booths, counters, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders, and reusable menus) between each use.
  • Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for wait staff and food service staff throughout the shift and upon reporting to work. Hand washing must at least meet the requirements specified in the North Carolina Food Code Manual.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as a cash register or place where customers wait to be seated at their table.


Patrons do not need to be family members to sit at the same table and do not need to stay six feet apart. Nor are wait staff required to stay six feet away from customers.

The business immunity provision included in recently enacted COVID-19 legislation applies to restaurants.

The DHHS guidance document for restaurants can be found here

Bars, Night Spots and Arenas

Phase 3 includes reopening provisions for bars, night spots and arenas that have seating for guests. The indoor areas of “bars,” defined as businesses which are not eating establishments or restaurants and that are principally engaged in the business of selling alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption, must remain closed. However, lounges (such as cigar bars and hookah lounges), venues for live performances, and adult entertainment facilities can reopen indoor areas with a maximum capacity of 25 guests with each group of guests seated so that they are spaced out six feet from other guests. No alcohol can be served inside these establishments. These types of establishments, along with bars and spectator stands and viewing areas at a sporting facility, stadium, sporting complex, or speedway, may open their outdoor areas with a maximum capacity of the lesser of the following:

  • Thirty percent (30%) of capacity (or, for spaces without a stated outdoor capacity, no more than seven customers for every one thousand square feet of the outdoor area’s total square footage).
  • 100 people for the total seating area.


Alcohol may be served in these outdoor areas and each group of guests must be seated so that they are spaced out six feet from other guests. Bars not using waitstaff must designate an ordering area that allows each patron to wait six feet apart from other patrons. If necessary, patrons may place their orders by coming inside the bar, but they must consume their beverages in outdoor seating areas only.

The following requirements also apply:

  • No sale of alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption after 11pm. 
  • The restrictions for restaurants apply to any food or beverage service.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for guests.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) at the entrance and at other areas throughout the premises as needed. Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for workers and guests.
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high guest density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders) between use.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Follow any NC Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.


Movie Theaters, Meeting Spaces and Entertainment Facilities

Various entertainment businesses and meeting venues are allowed to reopen under Phase 3, including the following:

  • Movie theaters.
  • Private rooms or other private meeting spaces in a hotel, conference center, meeting hall, or reception venue.
  • Bingo parlors, including bingo sites operated by charitable organizations.
  • Facilities where the purpose is to engage in games of cards, such as bridge.
  • Gaming and business establishments which allow gaming activities (e.g., video games, arcade games, pinball machines or other computer, electronic or mechanical devices played for amusement).


Guests must be in seats except to enter, leave, visit the restroom, or obtain food or drink. Each group of guests must be seated so that they are spaced out by six feet in all directions from other groups of guests. The capacity limit is the lesser of the following:

  • Thirty percent (30%) of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than seven customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
  • 100 people.


The following requirements also apply:

  • No sale of alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption after 11pm. 
  • Follow the restrictions applicable to restaurants for any food or beverage service.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for guests.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) at the entrance and at other areas throughout the premises as needed. Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for workers and guests.
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high guest density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders) between use.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).


Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses
Personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Barber Shops
  • Beauty Salons (including but not limited to waxing and hair removal centers)
  • Hair Salons
  • Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Tanning Salons
  • Massage Therapists (except that massage therapists may provide medical massage therapy services upon the specific referral of a medical or naturopathic healthcare provider)


These businesses can open subject to the capacity limits defined as the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
  • The number of people in the store so that patrons can stay six feet apart.


In addition, the following apply to these business operations:

  • Arrange seating so that groups of customers are separated from one another by six feet.
  • Workers shall wear face coverings when they are within six feet of another person.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Ensure that all equipment that comes into direct personal contact with customers and all furniture in service areas (such as chairs, capes, and the shampooing area in a barber shop or salon) are completely cleaned and disinfected between each customer.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at cash registers and waiting areas.


The DHHS guidance document for these businesses can be found here.

Fitness and Competitive Physical Activity Facilities
The following types of establishments are defined as Fitness and Competitive Physical Activity Facilities (provided, however, that the following establishments must remain closed if located within an amusement park):

  • Exercise facilities (e.g., yoga studios, dance studios, ballrooms for dancing, martial arts facilities, gymnastics, indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)
  • Gyms
  • Fitness or competitive facilities, including but not limited to basketball courts, baseball fields, volleyball courts, racquetball courts, squash courts, hockey rinks, soccer fields, sports teams and leagues, professional or amateur wrestling, and tennis courts (with spectators, if any, limited as stated in Section 9 of this Executive Order)
  • Health clubs and fitness centers
  • Boxing clubs
  • Skating rinks
  • Bowling alleys
  • Golf courses and driving ranges
  • Golf ball hitting bays
  • Mini-golf courses
  • Go-cart tracks, speedways, and raceways (with spectators limited as provided by the mass gathering restrictions)
  • Paintball, laser tag, and similar fields and arenas


These facilities must comply with the following requirements:

  • Limit any customers in indoor areas to “30% Emergency Maximum Occupancy,” which is the lesser of the following:
    • Thirty percent (30%) of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than seven customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
    • The number of people in any given room of the facility so that everyone can stay six feet apart.
  • In outdoor areas, limit customers to the lesser of the following:
    • The outdoor mass gathering limit of fifty people.
    • Twelve customers for every one thousand square feet.
  • The number of people in any given outdoor area so that every person can stay six feet apart.
  • Require customers and workers in both indoor and outdoor areas to wear face coverings over the mouth and nose except when they are strenuously exercising.
  • For activities involving people spread out among fixed equipment or lanes, tape off or move the equipment, or restrict access to lanes, so that the people conducting the exercise activity are at least six feet apart.
  • For people waiting to take their tum in the activity, space out any seating so that people can be socially distanced and stay, six feet apart from each other.
  • For group classes or group activities, ensure that all people are spaced at least six feet apart. Instructors may come within six feet of students for brief periods of time (less than 15 minutes).
  • Promote frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizer for workers and customers. Require workers to wash hands immediately upon reporting to work, after contact with customers, after performing cleaning and disinfecting activities, and frequently throughout the day.
  • Disinfect all shared equipment between users with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-Co V-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Allow the disinfectant to sit for the adequate amount of time stated by the manufacturer. If customers are to clean equipment, the establishment must provide instructions on how to properly disinfect equipment and on the adequate amount of time that the disinfectant must sit to be effective.
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high-population-density times.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.


Large Outdoor Venues

An exception to the mass gathering ban is included in Phase 3 for “Very Large Outdoor Facilities.” A venue must meet all of the following criteria to qualify:

  • Guests are seated with assigned seats.
  • The event occurs outdoors and the majority of guests are seated outdoors.
  • There are at least two separate entrances and at least two exits.
  • The total seating capacity of the facility is 10,000 or more.


Capacity is limited to no more than seven percent of the facility's total seating capacity. The facility operator must direct or monitor the flow of guests through common spaces to maintain social distancing and establish a guest flow plan that limits people massing together. All events must be ticketed with assigned seating and the operator must ensure that each group of guests attending the event is actually separated by six feet from each guest in each other group. The operator must have staff periodically monitor crowds to ensure that guests do not take seats other than their assigned seats. A "group" of spectators means a set of friends or family members who bought tickets together and came into the event venue together. No group of spectators shall exceed ten people.

Amusement Parks

Amusement Parks may open at 30 percent capacity of the park’s normal maximum occupancy and operate outside attractions. The amusement park operator must limit the number of guests within each ride or vehicle to either:

  • Have all the guests within a vehicle or ride be people who came into the ride loading area together as part of the same group of friends or family; or
  • Ensure six feet of social distancing between each group of friends or family within the vehicle or ride.


Indoor rides and attractions must remain closed, although indoor restaurants, concessions, gifts shops or retail spaces, and restrooms may open.

The following requirements also apply:

  • Spread out waiting lines for rides, amusements, and other areas where people may congregate or wait, with each group separated by six feet.
  • Mark six feet of spacing along the line and in waiting areas for rides and amusements and other areas where people may congregate or wait.
  • Establish a guest flow plan that limits people massing together throughout the park and when they are entering or exiting the park.
  • Follow the restrictions applicable to restaurants for any food or beverage service and those applicable to retail establishments for any retail operations.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) at the entrance and at other areas throughout the premises as needed. Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for workers and guests.
  • Disinfect shared objects and surfaces (such as game surfaces, safety bars, or harnesses) between uses.
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high guest density times.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).


Museums and Aquariums

Museums and aquariums may open subject to the following requirements:

  • Limit the number of customers in the museum or aquarium to 50% of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests), and ensure people are able to social
  • distance and remain 6 feet away from groups other than those in their households.
  • Limit visitors to each room within a museum or aquarium such that they do not exceed the mass gathering limit. Restaurants located within museums and aquariums are subject to the maximum occupancy and other requirements on restaurants.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-Co V-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).


Mass Gathering Ban

Mass gatherings are still prohibited and are defined as an event or convening that brings together more than twenty-five (25) people indoors or more than fifty (50) people outdoors at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes parades, fairs, and festivals. The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, childcare, day camps, overnight camps, educational institutions or government operations. However, it does apply to parties and receptions regardless whether the event takes place in a restaurant, in a conference center, in a hotel ballroom, in a venue that is used exclusively for receptions or parties, or in some other space otherwise open. The prohibition on mass gatherings does not include gatherings for health and safety, to look for and obtain goods and services, for work, or for receiving governmental services. Nor are normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls, and shopping centers affected. It also does not apply to the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
The definition of a face covering means “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face.”

Where Masks are Required
In general, masks are required when a person is or may be within six feet of another person in the following environments:

  • Retail businesses
  • Restaurants (when not consuming food)
  • Personal care, grooming, and tattoo businesses
  • Childcare facilities, day camps, and overnight camps
  • State government
  • Transportation (does not apply to people traveling alone with household members or friends in their personal vehicles, but does apply to ride shares, cabs, vans, and shuttles, even if the vehicles are privately owned).
  • Certain high-density occupational settings where social distancing is difficult
    • Manufacturing
    • Construction sites
    • Agricultural settings
  • Meat or poultry processing plants
  • Long term care facilities (must be surgical masks)
  • Other health care settings
  • Gyms and Other Exercise Facilities
  • Museums and Aquariums


Exceptions
The face covering requirement is not appliable to workers, customers, or patrons who:

  • Should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability
  • Are under five years of age
  • Are actively drinking or eating
  • Are strenuously exercising
  • Are trying to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired
  • Are giving a speech for a broadcast or other audience
  • Are working from home or in a personal vehicle
  • Are removing their face covering to secure government or medical services for identification purposes
  • Would be at risk from wearing a face mask at work, as deemed by government regulations or workplace safety guidelines
  • Have determined that their face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
  • Are children whose parent or guardian has been unable to place a face covering on the child’s face safely


Businesses may offer curbside pickup, provide home delivery, or any other reasonable measure to deliver goods to customers who claim that a face covering exemption applies to them.

Enforcement of Face Covering Requirements
Citations will be given only to businesses and organizations that fall to enforce face covering requirements. Business owners are entitled to rely on their customers’ statements about being exempt from wearing a face covering.

The DHHS issued a guidance document that requires all retail operations and restaurants to post signage at the entrance stating that face coverings are required per Executive Order 147. If the retail or restaurant establishment does so, it is deemed to be in compliance with the enforcement of face covering requirements contained in Executive Order 147.

Law enforcement are not authorized to criminally enforce face covering requirements. However if a person (who has been denied access to a business or organization because of their refusal to wear a face covering) enters the premises and refuses to leave, then law enforcement may enforce trespassing and other appliable laws.

Immunity Provisions
Section 4.14 of SB 704 provides immunity to essential businesses with respect to claims from a customer or employee for any injuries or death alleged to have been caused as a result of the customer or employee contracting COVID-19 while doing business with or while employed by the essential business, so long as there was no act or omission of the essential business constituting gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.

And as referenced above, this provision is applied to restaurants (even though they originally were not open as “essential businesses”).

Section 3D.7.(a) of SB 704 includes an immunity provision for health care providers that is almost identical to the essential business immunity provision.

Later in the legislative session, HB 118 was approved by the General Assembly. This legislation provides immunity for individuals, governmental entities, corporations, nonprofit corporations and other legal entities (collectively “person”) from legal claims alleging that the person’s act or omission resulted in a third party’s contraction of COVID-19. Any act or omission that constitutes gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing is not covered. The immunity applies to claims arising on or after July 2nd and continues in effect as to claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 (the executive order issued by the Governor declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19).

The immunity provision in this legislation has a few attributes of note that are not present in the immunity provision included in SB 704. First, it applies to a universe of entities beyond just essential businesses. Second, it is not limited to claims from customers or employees. And, lastly, it is effective for a longer period of time (claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 vs the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116).

The legislation also includes a new requirement that a person must provide reasonable notice at each premises of the actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to individuals present on the premises. However, the bill provides that a person is not liable for the failure of any individual to comply with rules, policies, or guidelines contained in the notice.

Executive Order 153 provides that it does not create a private right of action by any party against the “State of North Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any emergency management worker (as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-l 9.60) or any other person.”

 

COVID-19 Additional Resources (North Carolina):

NC Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/

  • COVID-19 case count.
  • Numbers to call or text for COVID-19 assistance.
  • COVID-19 symptoms and health tips.
  • Past COVID-19 briefings.
  • COVID-19 overview page can be found here.
  • Information on the testing and treatment of COVID-19 can be found here.

 

NC Department of Commerce: https://www.nccommerce.com/

  • North Carolina Employment Security Division is publishing instructions and guidance to help employers and employees understand the new changes to the state’s unemployment system related to COVID-19, which can be found here.
  • The changes to the state’s unemployment system were ordered by Governor Cooper on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in his Executive Order 118.
  • The Department of Commerce recommends the fastest and most efficient way to file for assistance is online here.

 

NC Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/

  • Effective April 2nd, court proceedings can be conducted by remote audio and video transmission and service of court documents can be effected by email.
  • Also effective April 2nd, the deadline for payment of most fines and fees is extended by 90 days, and clerks are not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.
  • To find local announcements, changes, and administrative orders by county, please see the COVID-19 Updates page.

 

NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv

  • Some NC DMV drivers license offices closed starting Wednesday, March 18.
  • See if an office is closed here.
  • Find what services can be conducted online here.

 

NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: http://www.ncagr.gov/

  • Information on food safety can be found here.
  • FAQ’s about COVID-19 and agriculture, essential businesses and critical infrastructure, and facility updates can be found here.

 

Department of Insurance https://www.ncdoi.gov/

  • Guidance for insurers regarding coverage and cost sharing requirements related to COVID-19 can be found here.

 

Golden LEAF Foundation - Rapid Recovery Loan Program https://ncrapidrecovery.org/

  • Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Businesses are eligible for bridge loans of up to $50,000 with six months of no interest and no payments. These loans are intended to support businesses until they are able to secure an SBA loan or other long-term assistance.
  • If not repaid in six months, the loans will automatically convert to a term loan.
  • Applicants must be small businesses affected by COVID-19 and have at least one employee.
  • Nonprofit organizations are not currently eligible.


COVID-19 Additional Resources (Federal):

Department of Homeland Security:

FDIC and Other Bank/Lending Regulators:

  • All federal agencies that regulate all U.S. financial institutions issued a written statement on Sunday, March 22, 2020: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2020/fil20022.html
  • In it, these agencies provided the following sweeping guidance to all financial institutions nationwide:
    • The agencies encourage financial institutions to work prudently with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their contractual payment obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.
    • The agencies view loan modification programs as positive actions that can mitigate adverse effects on borrowers due to COVID-19.
    • The agencies will not criticize institutions for working with borrowers and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize all COVID-19 related loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).
    • Citing bank-related accounting methodology from both GAAP and FASB perspectives, the agencies explain that short-term modifications made on a good faith basis in response to COVID-19 to borrowers who were current prior to any relief will not automatically be characterized as TDRs.  This has the historic impact of freeing up banks to temporarily defer monthly payments or extend maturity dates with the fear of hobbling a banks’ loan portfolio or requiring additional capital reserves with TDR designations. 
    • Note that the agencies provide an example of “short term modifications” as being six-month deferrals. 
    • Note also the agencies suggest that such modifications should be available only to borrowers who are “current” which they defined as “less than 30 days past due” before the implementation of a modification. 
       

US Small Business Administration: