N.C. League of Municipalities helping cities and towns navigate COVID-19

Published 11:00 am Saturday, March 21, 2020

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From the N.C. League of Municipalities

Even before the first U.S. case of COVID-19, officials at all levels of government brimmed with questions — what-ifs, how-tos, all in the scene of uncharted waters.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities has been in constant streams of communication with many different corners of government to capture accurate and thorough answers pertinent to municipal governance and how we can all work together.

Municipal leaders can visit nclm.org/coronavirus​ for a wealth of resources and answers to frequently asked questions about the response to COVID-19, local implementation​ of the governor’s executive orders, human resources and employment issues, childcare for essential local government workers, public meeting legalities and more.

The league is updating this page as new information comes in, so please add it to your bookmarks and email covid19@nclm.org with any new questions you might have.

One of the more frequently aired sets of questions​ this week concerned Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 118, limiting the operations of restaurants to delivery and take-out, as to minimize virus transmission risk within spaces. Businesses and local officials wondered how that applied to outdoor seating areas.

The governor’s office clarified the following: “Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Order of Abatement.”

Plenty of other questions have answers in our FAQ section at nclm.org/coronavirus​, and more are coming in. The site is also a resource page for local governments, with links to helpful documents and blog posts by League communications staff.

One of the latest blog posts addresses the subject of community spread and what we might expect. The measures in place limiting congregations and business may be tough, the Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged in the post, but they’re working to slow infection and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

“We know this a challenging time. But it is important to remember that the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and will recover at home,” the agency stated.