COVID-19 News Updates 3-18

March 18, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 3-18-20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

Commissioners Unanimously Approve $500K in Emergency Funding for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Calling it an “unprecedented public health challenge,” Chairman Brownie Newman noted the Board of Commissioners is fully committed to Buncombe County’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19). During their meeting on March 17, Commissioners unanimously approved $500,000 to be used in ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “How we respond now makes a real difference in how this plays out. Tell us what you need to mount the most effective response we can provide to protect public safety and help residents of our community get through this,” said Newman.

The funding will be used for a variety of needs such as protective equipment, school meal supplies, an Emergency Operations Center consultant, and other public safety needs. “There are things we will need to do that we don’t even know about. As the plan takes shape, let us know. We can convene as needed if there are additional resources that are needed,” added Newman.

Buncombe County continues to monitor the spread of coronavirus and is providing centralized information on its Buncombe Ready page. For up-to-date news, resource lists, and more, click here.

County Permits & Inspections’ Work Continues

Buncombe County wants to reiterate that the Permitting and Inspections Department is processing permits and performing inspections. However, the building at 30 Valley St. is not open to the public. Permit holders should continue to request inspections until further notice. Permitting and inspections services can be accessed via the following:

  • Find forms and applications here.
  • A drop box has been placed outside the building entrance (30 Valley St.) for permit applications and commercial plans
  • Same-day inspections can still be scheduled between 7-9 a.m. Inspections for stand-alone permits that require entering a private home will not be performed unless it is deemed an emergency (e.g., restoring power or heat). The department is working on guidelines to perform live-remote inspections for these trade permits. For updates on availability of this service, check here.
  • Work is underway on additional ways to electronically send applications and supplemental documents for current and pending building permits. Meantime, please continue to use the Citizens Access Portal for all trade permits.
  • All payments must be processed online, no payments can be made at the Permitting & Inspections office.
  • Please check Permitting & Inspection’s website for the most current updates to these guidelines.

Please note, residential plan reviews are no longer required, but permits will still be issued. Residential plan review is suspended only while our offices are closed to the public.

Register of Deeds Modifying In-Person Services

In an effort to promote social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the State of Emergency, the Register of Deeds office will be amending all in-person services.

The CDC and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies to slow the spread of this pandemic. They recommend employers establish policies such as telecommuting and online services to increase the physical distance among employees and their clients. The Buncombe County Register of Deeds office will be closed to in person services but will have all office functions available to residents and law offices online.

Recording Real Estate documents

Currently 56% of documents that are processed in Buncombe County are electronically recorded (meaning the real estate attorney never comes into the ROD office). The other documents are either mailed in or brought in person. During this State of Emergency, we strongly encourage all documents to be electronically recorded.

In an effort to help with this transition our eRecording vendor, Simplifile, has agreed to waive all startup fees and annual costs throughout the State of Emergency.

For those who want to record documents in person, they must use the new drop box outside of the office. For those who mail in documents or eRecord will not see any change in operations.

Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates

Throughout the declared State of Emergency all certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates will be available for purchase online only. The Buncombe County Register of Deeds office will charge you only the regular cost of the certificate, $10. There will be no surcharge for our online service or for mailing you the certificate, thus keeping you safer and us safer from spreading germs to each other. To purchase a certificate go to

Marriage Licenses

Throughout the State of Emergency, marriage licenses and notary oaths will be available daily by appointment only. Since these services must be in person because we have to verify each person’s identity and see them sign, we ask that you only come in at your scheduled time and only if you are not sick. We also promise that only non-sick staff are allowed to serve you. Appointments can be made online at

We are committed to providing services in a safe yet effective way for the duration of this situation. These plans are subject to change as the situation evolves. For the most up to date information on all Buncombe County services, please go to our user-friendly website at

You can find more information about County closures, modified services, and online resources here.

Johnson Price Sprinkle PA explains tax deferral

In response to questions and additional information JPS has received, we’re providing this updated information regarding the IRS’s extension of payments due April 15, 2020.

The payment deferral* appears to be only for tax year 2019. This means that, at this point, 1st quarter 2020 estimated tax payments that are due April 15 will still need to be paid on time to avoid penalties.

We expect the IRS will soon release details about how the payment extension will work. At this time, most states have not yet provided relief similar to the IRS’s. As official announcements are made, JPS will provide further updates.
* Individuals will be able to defer up to $1 million, and certain corporations, including some small businesses, will be able to defer up to $10 million.   For more information

SBA Updates Criteria on States for Requesting Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:

  • Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located.
  • Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses. SBA disaster assistance loans are typically only available to small businesses within counties identified as disaster areas by a Governor. Under the revised criteria issued today, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at