COVID News Update: 12/29/20

December 29, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 12/29/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information. 

New Buncombe County restrictions go into effect Saturday, Jan. 2nd

Effective this Saturday, January 2, indoor dining capacity at restaurants will be lowered to 30% from its current 50%, and the limit on indoor gatherings that include individuals from multiple households will be lowered to 2 people from the current maximum of 10 people.

Outdoor dining capacity limits will stay the same and won’t be impacted by the new local government restrictions. See the latest community update and review the order.

If you have questions about the new guidelines or ways to ensure your business is in compliance, get in touch with Buncombe County’s Ready Team at 828-419-0095 or at

New federal COVID-19 relief package is signed into law 

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump signed into law the latest congressional COVID-19 relief package. In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from the new law:

  • Direct payments of $600 to qualifying individuals and $1200 to qualifying couples or heads of household
  • Additional payments of $600 per child dependent to qualifying families
  • $300 per week in federal jobless benefits for 11 additional weeks, or through March 14, 2021
  • $54 billion in support for K-12 schools and $23 billion for colleges and universities
  • $7 billion to expand access to high-speed internet
  • $285 billion in additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, with publicly traded companies and companies with more than 300 employees no longer eligible to apply.
  • $10 billion in child care funding
  • An extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021

Q&A on revamped Paycheck Protection Program

Ward & Smith PA offers a Q&A to help understand the revamped Paycheck Protection Program. The relief package signed into law this week allows for:

  • new PPP applications for those who did not already receive one (applications not open as of 12/29/20. see here for SBA info on PPP)
  • some businesses to obtain a second loan
  • changed some rules for eligibility, allowable expenses, forgiveness, and more
  • expanded eligible expenses such as certain operations expenditures, personal protective equipment, certain group insurance benefits

Read the full Q&A for more info

NCDHHS adds vacination info to COVID dashboard & begins text contact

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services added data on people vaccinated to the NC COVID-19 Dashboard. Data will be provided for the total number of people statewide and by county of residence who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Data for people who have received the second dose of the vaccine will be added in January. Read more.

To notify people as quickly as possible if they have tested positive for or been exposed to someone with COVID-19, NCDHHS  in cooperation with Local Health Departments, is expanding how it contacts people. All residents who have provided cell phone or email addresses will receive an automatic text or email message to connect people to follow-up resources and supports.

People receiving a text or email will be directed to a secure website that provides additional information about how to protect themselves and their loved ones, how to get support if needed to safely isolate, and how to contact someone immediately for additional information.