COVID-19 News Updates 3/31

March 31, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 3-31-20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

Governor Cooper issues executive order prohibiting utility shut-offs

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order that assists North Carolinians by prohibiting utility shut-offs and late fees, urging utility reconnection; providing guidance on eviction restrictions; and urging financial institutions, including banks and mortgage lenders, to implement relief measures for individuals and businesses who are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. This provides relief to North Carolinians harmed financially by COVID-19 and helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing homelessness and ensuring that people have access to essential utilities.

The order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days and directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment. Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules.

FAQ on the executive order

CARES act provides advance on SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.

If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.

Check out this guide from the US Chamber of Commerce for info on eligibility

NC Dept. of Revenue broadens penalty relief

In a notice released by the North Carolina Department of Revenue (Department) on March 31, 2020, penalty relief was significantly broadened due to the impact of the coronavirus. The Department will not assess penalties for failure to obtain a license, failure to file a return, or failure to pay a tax that is due on March 15, 2020 through July 15, 2020, if the corresponding license is obtained, return is filed, or tax is paid on or before July 15, 2020. The relief from these penalties applies to income and franchise tax, withholding tax, sales and use tax and more. Relief is automatically granted with no need to request a penalty waiver. If a taxpayer is assessed a penalty for one of these taxes, the taxpayer should contact the Department. Read more from Johnson Price Sprinkle PA

City of Asheville provides hand washing stations to help reduce spread of COVID-19

 Besides keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, hand washing and sanitation have been identified as important measures in reducing the spread of contagion. That’s why the City of Asheville has installed portable hand washing stations in several strategic places around town. “We realize that people sometimes have to travel on ART buses to get to work, buy groceries or pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy, for example. Also, our unsheltered population needs places to wash their hands as well.” Read more

US Dept of Labor updates FAQs on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Over the weekend, US Dept. of Labor updated its FAQs about the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act to include information related to employees who request FMLA leave if they need to care for children who are out of school or child care due to COVID-19. Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP presents some of the highlights including documentation, intermittent leave, business closures, etc. in this article

Mission Health Stands Up Triage Tents at Local Hospitals to Prepare for COVID-19

Mission Health will be moving forward with standing up tents at its hospitals in the coming days to create additional capacity for triaging patients outside of emergency departments, should it become necessary as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves. The tents are part of Mission’s standard emergency planning protocols and are simply a precaution at this time. Over the coming days, Mission will conduct training exercises and drills in the tents, allowing caregivers to become comfortable in the environment should the tents need to become operational.

Read more

How businesses can support government response to COVID-19

If you or your organization are interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, FEMA has established a website ( with more information. Examples for the private sector include:

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please submit a price quote under the COVID-19 PPE and Medical Supplies Request for Quotation. Full details can be found in the solicitation (Notice ID 70FA2020R00000011).
    • This solicitation requires registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be considered for award, pursuant to applicable regulations and guidelines. Registration information can be found at  Registration must be “ACTIVE” at the time of award.
  • If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide details on what you are offering.
  • If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email
  • If you are interested in doing business with FEMA and supporting the response to COVID- 19 with your company’s non-medical goods and/or services, please submit your inquiry to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Procurement Action Innovative Response Team (PAIR) team at

For additional information please visit FEMA’s website: