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.



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.
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.

UPDATE: 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 aligning 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.

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.

Latest News









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
  • Be sure to talk to your bank or landlord and let them know your situation. 
  • The federal government is enacting up to 12 months of mortgage forbearance for borrowers who have Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or other government-backed loans, which are the majority of residential loans. Read more
  • A judicial order halting all non-essential court proceedings means evictions and foreclosures will be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic Read More
  • For immediate assistance, you can also apply for a grant through the One Buncombe fund. Learn More
  • On March 31, Governor Cooper signed an Executive Order to prohibit utility disconnections in the wake of COVID-19. Read More
  • Both State and Federal taxes have been postponed until July 15 Read More
  • The unemployment insurance system pays temporary assistance to eligible individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. The maximum weekly benefit jobless workers in North Carolina can get is $350, and the average amount paid is $264 a week. On average, those eligible for benefits get unemployment checks for 8.6 weeks. Apply Here
  • The CARES Act includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance be extended to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. Learn More
  • The CARES Act also provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to 4 months. In North Carolina, the maximum weekly benefit is $350 per week, meaning that unemployed NC workers would receive up to $950 in weekly benefits.
  • Additionally, the CARES Act provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.
  • For immediate assistance, individuals can also apply for a grant through the One Buncombe fund. Learn More
  • Call or email NCWorks at 828-251-6200 ir to learn about job opportunities. Some ideas include: Grocery stores (Ingles & Trader Joes are hiring), landscaping, senior living facilities, census,…
  • If you are looking for food resources in your area, call MANNA’s Food Helpline: 1-800-820-1109 More Info
  • Apply for SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). More Info
  • The Asheville Downtown Association Foundation has graciously donated a number of $50 Ingles gift cards to the music community. To be eligible, you need to have an account on the AMP database and live in Western North Carolina. Sign up is on a first come, first serve basis and registration begins May 8th at Noon. Go HERE to sign up!
  • On May 12th, Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville, Cultivated Cocktails, AMP and Eda Rhyne Distilling have partnered to give free hot meals and hand sanitizer to the music community. Go HERE to sign up!
  • 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
Small Business Financial Support
  • Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Click here to apply.
  • Mountain BizWorks is joining with partners from across the state to launch an innovative recovery resource – the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program. This program is being launched with an initial allocation of $15 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation to the NC Rural Center who is coordinating the multi-lender partnership. Learn More
  • Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible for low-interest loans up to $10,000 with no payments due for up to 6 months through the One Buncombe fund. Loans will be designed to provide low-cost “bridge funding” to help businesses stay open and limit job losses until businesses can qualify for longer-term disaster funding from SBA or others. Learn More
  • Mountain BizWorks Set to Administer Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund grants of up to $50,000. The online application portal opens May 15 and runs through May 31. Awards will be announced in mid-June. Interested applicants will be able to sign up at to learn more about the program, including opportunities for training and technical assistance in applying for grants.
Other Help
  • If you have the ability to offer gift cards, consider joining #AshevilleStrong appeal. Learn More
  • Individuals and small businesses should also look at the One Bucombe releif fund grant/ loan opportunites. Learn More
  • If you have created an online event and/or are selling goods or services online, let us know and we will share it on our website.
How Can You Help?
  • Visit Hands On Asheville Buncombe for a list of ways that you can help. Learn More
  • There is also an effort to make face masks for first line responders and vulnerable populations. Learn More

Relief Funds

Guidance for Arts Professionals & Organizations