On Sunday afternoon, March 22, Wake County leaders held a press conference in which they outlined new safeguards to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. We are sharing with you the key points of that announcement. We also are providing a list from Wake County of answers to some frequently asked questions.
These safeguards will remain in effect through April 30.
- All fitness centers, gyms, hair and nail salons, spas, tanning, massage, and tattoo salons, and other grooming services must close. Wake County pointed out that it is too difficult for these places to operate and observe social distancing practices, as recommended by the state and the CDC.
- Wake County also is prohibiting large gatherings of 50 people or more in one place. That includes auditoriums, theaters, conference rooms and any other confined space – both indoors and outdoors. This move is directly in line with guidance from Governor Cooper and state health officials to maximize our opportunities for social distancing. It does not include critical services like hospitals, government operations, banks, and retailers that provide the essentials like grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores and hardware stores.
- There is a webpage – wakegov.com/covid19 – that lists different types of businesses and gives examples of which ones could stay open under the new declaration and which ones should shut their doors.
- There also is a special phone line that business owners can call with questions about this process. The number is 919-856-7420. It’s live now, and Wake County staff will answer calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
- The Raleigh Chamber and Wake County Economic Development also are teaming up with Wake County to assist the businesses who are affected by this change. We’ve agreed to post information on our websites that will inform businesses about opportunities for financial assistance, offer communications and technology tools, and share resources about COVID-19.
- Another area addressed by the amendments to the State of Emergency declaration is local nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and assisted living centers. To protect them and the staff who care for them, these facilities must stop hosting gatherings – like social events – where visitors and residents would be closer than six feet apart. That includes dining areas. Residents of nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and assisted living centers also can only have one adult visitor per day, unless it is an end-of-life situation, and the visit must take place in the resident’s room.
- Visitors must be screened for fever of 100.4-degrees or higher, a cough and difficulty breathing before they can enter the building. Then, they must show ID, sign a visitor’s log and provide contact information in case our Public Health Division needs to reach them. Volunteers at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers must also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
- The new declaration also prohibits Wake County residents from using publicly and privately-owned or HOA playgrounds. The action does not include backyard playground equipment or other amenities at parks and open space areas such as greenways and walking trails. They are open for use, and Wake County encourages residents to continue biking, hiking and running on them while following good social distancing practices.
- Wake County recommends that businesses start doing temperature checks and respiratory screenings for employees before they come into the workplace. The county also asks businesses to consider checking clients for fevers greater than 100.4-degrees and breathing issues before they enter the building. Then, businesses can turn away sick customers and minimize the risk for employees and other clients.
Wake County also provided this press release following the announcement on Sunday with additional details and information.