COVID-19 News Updates 5/15/20

May 15, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 5/15/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information

Free Legal Hotline to Help Western North Carolinians Struggling During the COVID-19 Crisis

Several organizations are joining together to coordinate the WNC COVID Legal Hotline on Thursday, May 21st from 8am to 2pm.  Through this hotline, attorneys will offer free legal information and guidance to Western North Carolinians affected by the pandemic. The Buncombe County Bar, Pisgah Legal Services, Legal Aid of NC and the NC Bar Foundation are hosting event.

On May 21st from 8 am to 2 pm, WNC residents can call the hotline at 828-560-3700 and talk with a lawyer about legal problems related to meeting their basic needs. Lawyers will provide free advice about issues related to housing, bills or debt, unemployment benefits, health insurance, personal safety, stimulus checks, and other matters affecting the health, well-being and financial security of households in our region. Attorneys will also be available to take calls from small business owners and nonprofit leaders facing challenges due to COVID-19.

Volunteer attorneys will provide brief legal help to callers and will refer them other resources, if needed. Low-income callers can be referred to Pisgah Legal Services and Legal Aid of NC, nonprofits providing free civil legal aid to lower-income individuals and families across WNC. Individuals can call Pisgah Legal for help at 1-800-489-6144 during regular business hours or apply online for assistance anytime at Applications can be made to Legal Aid of NC by calling 1-866-219-5262 or online at

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

Volunteer attorneys and call operators are needed to help with the hotline. Information can be found here:

NCDHHS seeks companies that can produce PPE & other critcial supplies

North Carolina needs companies and manufacturers that can produce and provide critical supplies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firms that can manufacture PPE like masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns or eye protection for sale or donation to the state are encouraged to complete the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Procurement Form here. Specifics on the types of supplies they’re looking for are available here.

Proof of certifications must be provided for regulated supplies. FDA/CE/NIOSH certifications must be provided without redaction. Manufacturers that have not traditionally made medical supplies and are repurposing their facilities may not have required certifications. If you are a repurposing manufacturer, complete as much information as you can.

Worried about whether to repay PPP loan under “good faith” certification? (From Johnson Price Sprinkle PA)

When submitting a PPP loan application, all borrowers were required to certify in good faith “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operation of the Applicant.” Under SBA guidance, borrowers who applied for a PPP before April 24 and repaid the loan in full by May 18 would be deemed to have made this certification.

SBA’s FAQ 46 (from May 13) states that “Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.”

Further, the SBA indicates in the FAQ that borrowers with loans more than $2 million that do not repay the loan by May 18 may still have an adequate basis for making the good faith certification.

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Mountain BizWorks Announces Eligibility Guidelines for Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund

The Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund will be accepting applications from May 15-May 31. The relief fund, administered by Mountain BizWorks, was created by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority with occupancy tax revenue dedicated for tourism product development.

Buncombe-based businesses and nonprofits with two to 200 employees that provide a direct visitor experience can apply for grants of up to $50,000 to help pay for the expenses of reopening, such as rent, payroll, supplies, and more. For more information on eligibility or to apply:

Prevent legal issues when returning to work

  • Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete LLP podcast on “Returning to work after the Apocalypse”: What legalities and logistics do companies need to consider when returning employees to the physical workplace in a post-coronavirus world? Listen in for practical tips about minimizing your company’s potential liability.
  • Constangy is also offering a free four-part webinar series “COVID-19: Preparing Employers for what comes next” – May 20, May 21, May 26 & May 27 – some of the country’s foremost attorneys in a range of workplace law practices reveal what they believe are the most crucial problems employers will face once the pandemic crisis settles. Register for one or all of these free webinars.
  • Inc. com article “What not to do when you reopen your business” offers five things to consider
  • Financial and Legal Strategies in the New Normal – Webinar with Johnson Price Sprinkle PA & Allen Stahl + Kilbourne Law

Upcoming Discussion on re-opening sports in Buncombe County