COVID-19 News Updates 4/2

April 2, 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.

Buncombe County, City of Asheville Launch COVID-19 Call Center

We understand people in our community have many questions about COVID-19 and guidance specific to Buncombe County’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Declaration. To help address your questions, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville are operating the Ready Team call center.

The Ready Team call center is an extension of the Emergency Operations Center and is focused on business and general questions about COVID-19 and can direct you to the best resources available to find answers. To ensure that there are options for Spanish, Russian, and multiple other languages, the Ready Team is working with the United Way’s 211 Call Center.

The Ready Team call center operates Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. It can be reached at (828) 419-0095 or by email at

SBA loan scams

Quite a few scams are going on in relation to the COVID-19 small businesses assistance. If you are applying be sure you are on the government’s secure site: Check out our post on the SBA loans for more information and local resources to help you navigate the process.

Assistance for American Workers and Families

In the weeks immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, Americans will see fast and direct relief in the form of Economic Impact Payments. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

With $349 Billion in Emergency Small Business Capital Cleared, Treasury and SBA Begin Unprecedented Public-Private Mobilization Effort to Distribute Funds (HERE)

Treasury Encourages Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 to Use Employee Retention Credit (HERE)

Johnson Price Sprinkle PA article on Payroll and Self_Employment Tax

Mercy Urgent Care offering fit-testing for N95 respirator masks

Mercy Urgent Care is now offering fit-testing for N95 and other respirator masks, performed by an OSHA-trained professional, in an effort to help medical professionals, essential employees and at-risk individuals stay safe in these unprecedented and trying times. This test can be performed on N95, half-face and full-face respirators. For more information and other things to know prior to a fit test, visit To make an appointment with Mercy Urgent Care for a respirator mask fit test, call Ana Jimenez at 828-254-7576 or send an email to Onsite workplace testing is available for workforce teams, and individual testing currently may be scheduled only at the West Asheville and South Asheville locations.

NCRLA Asks General Assembly for Urgent Help

During a special legislative committee meeting yesterday, North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association President & CEO Lynn Minges told lawmakers they need to act immediately to help North Carolina’s hospitality industry. Minges explained that the congressional bill passed last week will provide some help, but it could take weeks for that to actually get to businesses. She called on lawmakers to go into session and approve a $100 million emergency grant program for the hospitality industry and to defer tax payments for four months without penalties or interest.

See NCRLA’s Requests

 See the COVID-19 Presentation to NCGA