COVID-19 Reopening Resources

As Key Indicators Remain Stable, North Carolina Moves to Safer At Home Phase 2

RALEIGH, May 20, 2020: 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 pmRead 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.

The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26. 

Read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2

View the graphs and slides from the Phase 2 press conference.

Frequently Asked Questions for Executive Order No. 138

NCDHHS Phase 1 Presentation and Graphs

Moving Forward – Phase 3

Details of Phases 3 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phased approach to lift restrictions are outlined below. It is important to note:

  • If infections spike or benchmark trends begin to move in the wrong direction, the state may move to a previous phase to protect public health.
  • The best science and data available will be used to make all decisions and continue consultation with business and industry leaders.

Phase 3

To be implemented at least four to six weeks after Phase 2:

  • Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations with encouragement to continue practicing physical distancing and minimizing exposure to settings where distancing isn’t possible.
  • Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships and entertainment venues.
  • Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings.
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregate care settings.

IPDC “Back to Work” Webinar Recording

Click here to view the recording of IPDC’s “Back to Work” Webinar held on May 7. This webinar featured Ruth Krystopolski of Atrium Health, Josh Carpenter of EDPNC, Freddie Killough of Marion Business Association, William Kehler of McDowell Emergency Services, and Steve Garrison Rutherford County Manager.

Resources Discussed in the Webinar:

Employer Re-Opening Guide

Click here to access the North Carolina Department of Commerce and NC Works Employer Re-Opening Guide for Phase 2, which has numerous resources available for the public.

Know Your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to remember these three things as we stay strong and continue to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people 
  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

These actions can protect our families and neighbors as the state takes a cautious step forward to ease restrictions while the virus is still circulating.

All North Carolinians are encouraged to share this message in their businesses and through their organizations to protect our families and neighbors as the state takes a cautious step forward while the virus is still circulating.

Click here for printable “Know Your Ws” flyers to post at your business

EDPNC Business Reopening Resources

For all general questions, call Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443.  BLNC staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.  BLNC staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance.  All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days.  “Se Habla Español.”

Are you preparing to reopen your business?

Businesses looking for the latest info on the COVID-19 situation in NC  can visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services website. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services publishes guidance for dealing with the current COVID-19 situation, including specialized advice for businesses and restaurant operators.

Ongoing Mitigation Guidance

Businesses seeking guidance to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19 can review the CDC’s Ongoing Mitigation Guidance guidelines for potential mitigation activities according to level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19 by setting.

WNC COVID-19 Legal Help

Individuals with low-incomes who need legal assistance can call:

  • Pisgah Legal Services at 1-800-489-6144 during regular business hours or apply online for assistance anytime.
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina at 1-866-219-LANC (5262) or apply online.

Pisgah Legal Services and Legal Aid of NC provide free civil legal aid to North Carolinians living in poverty who have a legal problem related to meeting their basic needs.

Individuals who do not qualify for free services through Pisgah Legal or Legal Aid of NC can call the NC Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-662-7660 for a 30-minute legal consultation for $50 or seek help with their legal question through NC Free Legal Answers at www.nc.freelegalanswers.org.

Protecting Your Business from COVID-19

Pandemics like COVID-19 create a variety of unusual circumstances that you must be able to quickly adjust to. This guide from the National Institute of Standards and Technology can help you prepare for and react to COVID-19 impacts and includes best practices for protecting your facility and employees from exposure.

  1. Staff, Visitor and Travel Policies:
    • Review employee leave policies and modify them as necessary to support extended sick or home quarantine periods.
    • Consider paid leave for these periods to encourage appropriate use.
    • Consider flexible working arrangements for staff including working on-line from home.
    • Review your visitor access policies and be prepared to limit visitors.
    • Consider replacing in-person meetings with on-line alternatives. Test online meeting tools prior to use.
    • Limit staff business travel to impacted areas; consult the CDC Travel Health Notice site for updates.

  2. Help Employees Stay Healthy:
    • Maintain and enhance facility cleaning plans and consider providing hand-sanitizing locations on-site.
    • Provide illness prevention training and education to staff, encouraging to practice these habits at home and work.
    • Identify which staff and visitors need access to which areas of your facility, limit if possible.
    • Consider screening, home-quarantine and other policies as appropriate.
    • Consider a policy that supervisors must notify HR immediately if they become aware of diagnosed employee.
    • Implement social distancing guidelines if recommended by public health officials.

  3. Communication Plan:
    • Develop an internal employee communication plan regarding the company’s response plan providing regular (at least weekly) updates and provide opportunities for questions and feedback.
    • Communicate to external business partners with updates on your response plan and impacts to them.
    • Plan and act based on facts and anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors and misinformation and plan communications accordingly.
    • Coordinate your response plan with local and state officials as needed.

Responding to COVID-19 Exposure at Your Business

The following can serve as a checklist for what you should do if you suspect a COVID-19 exposure has occurred at your facility. This advice is based upon recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). You can use the sources in this document and on the CDC’s website to ensure you have the latest updates and recommendations. Be sure to refer to your state’s recommendations as well.

  • Protect Your Staff
    • Employees (or visitors) who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
    • Provide the employee with a copy of CDC’s 2019 nCoV fact sheet showing them how to get treatment.
    • Refer to your state’s guidance in determining appropriate follow-up actions and notifications and review their Business Guidance recommendations.
    • If possible, identify which areas of your facility were visited by the sick individual and which staff may have come into contact with them. Consult with your state’s guidance on appropriate actions (they may recommend a 14 day home self quarantine for these staff).
    • Consider a temporary shut-down of the facility to thoroughly clean the facility before re-opening for business. Associated with this would be implementation of any flexible leave, flexible working and work from home arrangements.
    • Communicate with your staff, suppliers, customers and business partners on your facility status and plans
  • Conduct a Thorough Environmental Cleaning:
    • Refer to CDC’s Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for what steps are required at your site.
    • It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
    • Ensure all cleaning staff receive proper training in advance and have proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The recommended PPE includes gowns, gloves and goggles or face shields for splash protection.
    • Review OSHA requirements in terms of dealing with cleaning products and proper use of PPE.
    • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, restrooms, machines and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • Do not use compressed air or water sprays to clean potentially contaminated surfaces, as these techniques may aerosolize infectious material.
    • Ensure the cleaning staff follow proper and frequent hand washing practices.
    • Properly dispose or clean PPE, laundry, and refuse.

Guidance for Restaurant Operators

Restaurant operators preparing to reopen should consult the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance from the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association for a framework for best practices as you reopen. The purpose of guidance is just that, to offer you direction and provide a framework for best practices as you reopen.

Summary of Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 and Food Safety FAQ

Guidance for Retail Businesses

Open for Business – A Blueprint for Shopping Safe

America’s retailers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, with grocers, pharmacies, and other retailers working hard to make sure every family has what they need as America has stayed home. However, many retailers were required to shut down storefronts throughout the country, furloughing over one million workers in order to protect our communities and stop the spread of the coronavirus. Click here for the guide.

Printable Retail Signs

These signs from the NC State Food Safety Extension can be downloaded and filled with business specific information.

Count On Me NC

As North Carolina’s restaurants, hotels, attractions and businesses reopen after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, Count On Me NC is a mutual pledge and public health initiative that empowers guests and businesses to help keep everyone safe and protected. Click here to learn more.

Businesses across North Carolina can participate in this no-cost training that was developed with the NC Department of Health and Human Services. It includes evidence-based practices on social distancing, employee health and sanitation to protect people’s health. The first phase of Count on Me NC training is designed for restaurants and hospitality businesses that serve food. The program plans to expand to other tourism businesses including lodging and attractions and add courses in Spanish by June.

OSHA Record Keeping Requirements for COVID-19

This link highlights OSHA standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) and other related information that may apply to worker exposure to COVID-19

COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are true:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
  2. The case is work-related (as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5); and
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work).

Employers should also consult OSHA’s Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Visit OSHA’s Injury and Illness Record keeping and Reporting Requirements page for more information.

OSHA Worker’s Rights

Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. If you have concerns, you have the right to speak up about them without fear of retaliation. Click here to learn more.

OSHA’s Response to Workplace Safety and Coronavirus Exposure

CDC Recommendations for Communities, Schools, and Workplaces

CDC guidance to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19:

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

How to Clean to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Cloth Face Coverings: Do’s & Don’ts

Wearing a cloth face covering CORRECTLY can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. When you go out on essential trips, follow these “do’s”.

If you have a child, remember those under age 2 should not wear a face covering.