COVID-19 Updates

The Asheville Area Arts Council continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We will do our best to provide you with the latest news and resources.

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What is the current status of COVID-19 in North Carolina?
  • March 10- Govenor Cooper declares a State of Emergency in North Carolina. Read More
  • March 15- North Carolina’s K-12 public schools will close until April 6, effective March 16, per an executive order signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.The executive order also banned mass gatherings of over 100 across the state. This has now be extended until May 15 Read More
  • March 17- Executive order includes expansion of the following unemployment benefits to help workers affected by COVID-19: (1) Removes the one-week waiting period to apply for benefits; (2) Removes the requirement that a person must look for another job during this time; and (3) Allows employees, who lost their jobs or who have had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 issues, to apply for unemployment benefits. Read More
  • March 26- North Carolina Receives Federal Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Read More
  • March 27- Governor Cooper Announces Statewide Stay at Home Order Until April 29 Read More
  • March 31- Governor Cooper signs Executive Order 124 on March 31 prohibiting utilities, including electric, gas, water and wastewater services – from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. To learn more, read the FAQs.
  • April 9- Governor Cooper Signs Order to Tighten Social Distancing Measures, Strengthen Long-Term Care Rules and Streamline Unemployment Benefits Process Read More
  • April 23- Governor Extends Stay At Home Order Through May 8, Plans Three Phase Lifting of Restrictions Based on Virus Trends Read More
  • April 24- Governor Cooper, State Education Leaders: Remote Learning To Continue Through End of 2019-2020 School Year Read More
  • May 5- Governor Cooper Announces Modified Stay At Home Order and Transition to Phase 1 of Easing Restrictions Starting on May 8 at 5 pm. Read More
  • May 20- Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 141 moving North Carolina into Safer At Home or Phase 2 beginning on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. This order is effective until June 26.
  • June 24- North Carolina Governor announces we will stay in Safer At Home Phase 2 and adds a Statewide Requirement for Face Coverings. Executive Order No. 141 shall remain in effect, as amended below, until 5:00 pm on July 17, 2020.
  • July 16- North Carolina Governor announces we will stay in Safer At Home Phase 2 and adds a Statewide Requirement for Face Coverings. Executive Order No. 151 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on August 7, 2020.
  • August 5- North Carolina Governor announces that we will stay in Safer At Home Phase 2 for another 5 weeks. Executive Order No. 155 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on September 11, 2020.
  • September 30- North Carolina Governor announces that we will move to Safer At Home Phase 3 on October 2nd at 5 pm. Executive Order No. 169 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on October 23, 2020.
  • October 21- Gov. Cooper announced that following the data, North Carolina Will Remain Paused in Phase 3 for another 3 weeks. Executive Order No. 170 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on November 13.
  • October 28- Governor Cooper Signs Executive Order No. 171 to Strengthen Eviction Prevention and Help Renters Stay in Their Homes
  • November 10- Governor Cooper extends Phase 3 and lowers indoor gathering limit to 10. Executive Order No. 176 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on December 4.
  • November 23- With Cases Rising Rapidly, North Carolina Tightens Existing Mask Requirements and EnforcementExecutive Order No. 180 shall remain in effect until 5:00 pm on December 11.
What is the current status of COVID-19 in Buncombe County?

Both City and County have declared a State of Emergency.

City Council voted 7-0 March 24 to give special powers to Mayor Esther Manheimer. The change allows a faster response to emergencies during the coronavirus pandemic, according to city legal staff.

Buncombe County has issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” Supplemental Declaration that goes into effect Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. The intent of this supplemental declaration is to further minimize all opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19 across the jurisdiction. This declaration directs all Buncombe County residents to “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and to limit movements outside of their homes that are not deemed essential.  This declaration is valid through Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 6 a.m., but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated which may lead to revision, amendment or extension. Read more

To bring our community in closer alignment with Governor Cooper’s Stay Home order, Buncombe County Public Health has issued a new, Stay Home, Stay Safe Declaration on April 8th. Read More

On May 7, Buncombe County Commission Chairman Newman signed a declaration aligning Buncombe County with Governor Cooper’s executive order with the sole exception of a continued restriction on Leisure Travel Booking.

On May 22, Buncombe County issued a superseding Stay Safer at Home Declaration that will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020 and will remain in effect until June 26, 2020, unless otherwise repealed, replaced, or rescinded and transitions to Phase 2 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions.

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order (EO) No. 151, which went into effect July 17, 2020, at 5 p.m., and Buncombe County will be fully aligned with this new order. EO 151 extends Phase 2 of Reopening until Aug. 7. Buncombe County Public Health has issued a superseding Stay Safe, Stay Smart Declaration that will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, and will remain in effect until Aug. 7, 2020, unless otherwise repealed, replaced, or rescinded.

Following Governor Cooper’s tightened mask restrictions, Buncombe County Commission Chairman Brownie Newman and City of Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer signed a new declaration to enforce mask-wearing in Buncombe County and will remain in effect until Dec. 11, 2020, unless otherwise repealed, replaced, or rescinded.

For the latest updates, visit:

What safety measures should I be taking?
These simple steps can help you prepare your home, minimize your risk of exposure, and protect others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Medications: make sure you have enough medication, like blood pressure pills, to last for two weeks. Aside from prescriptions, make sure you have pain reliever (ibuprofen), stomach remedies, and cold and cough medicines.
  • Masks: only wear a mask if you are sick or are caring for someone with COVID-19.
  • Cleaning Supplies: plan on cleaning surfaces in your house that get touched frequently – such as kitchen counters and bathroom faucets – several times a day. Keep “high touch surfaces” in your house clean with household cleaning sprays or wipes.
  • Wash Hands: as soon as you get home before touching common household surfaces. Scrub your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Hand Sanitizer: carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Flu Shot: if you haven’t already gotten your flu shot yet, it’s still a good idea to get one.
  • Other: keep plenty of go-to food supplies on hand such as nonperishable foods and hydrating drinks, such as Gatorade or Pedialyte for kids.

Visit the Buncombe Ready page for more information about how to prepare.

What support resources are available?

We have added a list of support resources below and will continue to update this list as addtional information becomes available. 

Questions? Email your questions to and we will do our best to get you answers.

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Reliable COVID-19 Updates

Emergency Assistance

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.

Mortgage/ Rent Assistance/ Evictions

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever and cough or difficulty breathing), please call your healthcare provider for evaluation. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call a local urgent care or Buncombe County Public Health at 828-250-5300. Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19, and please do not go to the emergency department unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. 
  • Mission is offering virtual care: Receive an online diagnosis and prescription (as needed) for your illness from the convenience of your home for $25. Learn More
  • Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government. More Info
  • Information about COVID-19 Testing Sites
Small Business Financial Support

Relief Funds

Guidance for Arts Professionals & Organizations