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Buncombe County Amends Local State of Emergency 

Stay Home-Stay Safe Effective 8pm, March 26

Buncombe County has issued a "Stay Home - Stay Safe" supplemental declaration that goes into effect Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8pm. The declaration (linked here) directs all Buncombe County residents, including Biltmore Forest and all municipality citizens, to limit movements outside of their homes not deemed essential. The declaration is valid through Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 6am. 

Interpretive guidance for this supplemental order can be found by clicking this link.  This file, and the following information from Buncombe County's website, should be used to guide questions regarding what individuals can and cannot do, and what is essential versus non-essential. 

Under this Supplemental Declaration…
Buncombe County residents can:

  • Go to the grocery and convenience store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and healthcare necessities
  • Visit a health care facility for medical services that cannot be provided virtually (call first!)
  • Go to a restaurant, for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru service only
  • Care for or support a friend, family member, or pet
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog (as long as social distancing measures are maintained)
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian
  • Help others to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business that delivers

Buncombe County residents should NOT:

  • Go out at all if they are sick
  • Go to work, unless providing essential services as defined by this order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no specific, urgent need
  • Be closer than 6 feet from others if out in public
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skill nursing facilities, or other residential care facilities, except for limited exceptions as provided by the specific facility
  • Travel, except for essential travel and activities.
  • Engage in door to door solicitation

Activities that are considered essential:

In General, activities that fall under these categories.  Further details can be found in the Supplemental Declaration itself.

  • For health and safety
  • To get necessary supplies and services
  • For outdoor activities (walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, using greenways)
  • For work for essential businesses/operations
  • To take care of others

What is the difference between “Stay Home – Stay Safe” and “Shelter in Place”?

Under a Stay Home declaration residents can still perform essential services and conduct essential travel.  Shelter in Place is a declaration that Buncombe County may use in the future.  Shelter in Place only permits Emergency travel and Emergency services, so it is fundamentally more restrictive than a Stay Home order. Buncombe County is not currently planning to enact a Shelter in Place order.

I live outside of Buncombe County. How does this affect me?

If you work in Buncombe County, then your business/employer must comply with this order. You are allowed to travel through Buncombe County and conduct essential activities within Buncombe County and to return home.

What is considered essential travel?

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, or minimum basic operations.
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from education institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel

Am I allowed to travel?

You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

Yes – but maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others.

Enforcement Activities

Can I get arrested for violating this order?

All Buncombe County Law Enforcement entities will enforce the order through education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary cooperation from all residents and businesses. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved Buncombe County Law Enforcement is equipped to enforce these restrictions through citations or misdemeanor charges. Any person violating any prohibition or restriction imposed by this order shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

How do I report a violation of this order?

Report violations to your Local Law Enforcement Agency via a Non-emergency line.

I live in (Woodfin/Black Mountain/Weaverville/Biltmore Forest/Montreat/Asheville) – does this order apply to me?

Yes – this order applies to all residents within Buncombe County.

Does this order apply to the homeless?

No – homeless are exempt from this restriction but are urged to find shelter.

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:59:00 PM

Town Launches Specific COVID-19 Page 

In an effort to provide continuous information, while also still distributing regular news and alerts, the Town has created a specific website for all information related to COVID-19. Staff will update this page regularly, but it should be noted that the primary source of information for ANYONE in Buncombe County is through the County's website. 

Please visit biltmoreforest.org/covid19 to view the page. Thank you.

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Tuesday, March 24, 2020 11:52:00 AM

Buncombe County Confirms First Case of COVID-19 in County Resident 

Buncombe County Health and Human Services has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in a resident of Buncombe County. The person has been notified and remains in isolation at home. They were in isolation from the time testing was performed, following guidance of public health and their healthcare provider. For the full news release from Buncombe County, please click here.

Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19, and please do not go to the emergency room unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. If you have fever and respiratory illness and want to know if you should be tested for COVID-19, it is best to call your health care provider or (828) 250-5300 for information on how to get tested in Buncombe County.

The Town continues working closely with Buncombe County and other municipalities to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. Please continue practicing social distancing and following guidance from the State of North Carolina and Buncombe County. For the most accurate information, please visit buncombecounty.org. 

As a reminder, sign up to receive emergency texts directly from Buncombe County for breaking health and safety news. Text BCALERT on your smart phone to 888-777 to receive alerts on important information such as floods, communicable disease, county office closings, and relevant traffic safety notifications OR visit buncombeready.org

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Saturday, March 21, 2020 11:52:00 AM

State of Emergency Amended 

Effective 5pm, Thursday, March 19th

Effective at 5pm, Thursday, March 19, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, Mayor Goosmann, and all other municipal mayors, have amended the previously approved state of emergency. The new state of emergency declaration can be found by clicking this link

The press release and information from Buncombe County is laid out below. Please feel free to contact the Town with any questions.

For Immediate Release

March 19, 2020

***Revised to clarify outdoor dining is outdoor gathering***

County Declaration Mandates Expansion of Social Distancing, Closes Certain Businesses

As part of Buncombe County’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be increased measures as part of a Local State of Emergency Supplemental Declaration. The intent of this declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Buncombe County through social distancing. “Social Distancing is a specific strategy proven by data to severely lessen the impact of high-consequence pathogens by minimizing the opportunity for close contact encounters,” explained County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Fletcher Tove. “The declaration achieves this goal by mandating the closure of specific businesses and entertainment venues and limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people.” This order applies to all of Buncombe County and its six municipalities and is effective Thursday, March 19 at 5 p.m.

Buncombe County Public Health has determined an imminent hazard exists, and this is a critical step aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing contact within a range of six feet for a duration of at least ten minutes. This Declaration applies to gyms, fitness centers and exercise facilities, indoor pools, spas, movie theaters, live performance venues and arcades.

This declaration does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware markets, gas stations, farmers markets, and food distribution sites selling prepared food. “These are locations where the public are not generally in close contact with other patrons,” said Tove.

Also, the limitation on gatherings of 10 people does not include normal operations at medical facilities, airports, bus and train stations, shopping malls, office environments, factories, and child care centers.

Please be aware, this order is more restrictive than Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 118 in regards to restaurant, bar, and brewery operations, in that it also limits outdoor gathering to 10 people or less, regardless of available space.

Buncombe County thanks you in advance for understanding this order is imperative to protect our community’s most vulnerable people while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Friday, March 20, 2020 10:28:00 AM

Effective March 17, All Town Buildings Closed to Public 

Precautionary Response to Help Stop Spread of COVID-19

All Town Buildings Closed to the Public, Effective March 17, 2020       

     The Town of Biltmore Forest’s top priority is and always will be the safety and security of its citizens and staff. Town officials take the current spread of COVID-19 seriously. To that end, effective immediately, the Town Hall and all other town buildings will be closed to the public. All essential police, sanitation, and water services will be maintained as normal during this time. Parks remain open, but appropriate social distancing is recommended.

            The Town is modifying work within buildings and asking all employees to increase their physical working space, and some employees are working remotely. We are working closely with Buncombe County and other local partners on this evolving situation to provide up to date and informed guidance to our community. Buncombe County’s website (buncombecounty.org) has the most up to date information regarding COVID-19. The Town is posting information to its website as soon as possible as well - www.biltmoreforest.org.

            In conjunction with the Mayor’s declaration of a State of Emergency last Thursday, the Town has cancelled all advisory board meetings for the next thirty (30) days and will update this timeline as necessary. We ask that citizens take precautions during the next few weeks to help control the community spread of this virus, and most importantly, follow the steps outlined by the CDC at www.cdc.gov/covid19.  

            We understand this is a confusing and scary time. Town staff will remain available electronically or via telephone to assist citizens and address concerns.       Like all of you, the Town is working through these challenges on a daily basis. We appreciate your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can provide assistance.

You can aid these efforts and help stop the spread of the virus by doing the following:

•           Making utility payments via mail (PO Box 5352 Biltmore Forest, NC 28813), dropping payments in the green drop box near the flagpole at the Town Hall, or utilizing our online payment system at www.biltmoreforest.org/make-a-payment. Directions for the online payment system are found at the above link. Like many other utility providers, the Town is suspending any water account disconnections for non-payment during this time.

•           All residents are encouraged to conduct business with the Town by contacting the Town via phone during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or via email. If you are unable to speak with someone, please leave a voicemail, and someone will return your call as soon as possible. Department specific phone numbers and a general email are listed below.

Telephone Contact

  • Administration (Planning, Zoning, Water Billing, Tax Questions) – (828) 274-0824
  • Public Works (Trash, Recycling, Brush Pick-Up, Water Service, Streets) – (828) 274-3919
  • Police Department (non-emergency only) – (828) 274-0822

Email Contact

            Like all of you, the Town is working through these challenges on a daily basis. We appreciate your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can provide assistance.

Jonathan Kanipe
Town Manager

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Tuesday, March 17, 2020 10:05:00 AM

Buncombe County Confirms First Case of COVID-19 

Person Visited County from March 10-13

Buncombe County Health and Human Services has confirmed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 associated with Buncombe County. The person visited Asheville from Macon County between March 10-13. The full text of the press release can be found by clicking the link below. 

As a reminder, follow this link to sign up for Buncombe County's emergency notifications to receive the most current and up to date information regarding the coronavirus and its impact in Buncombe County. A direct link to the Buncombe Ready website can be found by clicking here.

 

 

 

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Monday, March 16, 2020 11:35:00 AM

State of Emergency Declared for Public Health Emergency 

Declaration in Concert with Buncombe County

In concert with Buncombe County's declaration, a state of emergency is in effect for the Town of Biltmore Forest for a public health crisis related to the spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus. This declaration allows the county and town to leverage state and federal funding and galvanize community resources. 

This declaration is effective March 12 until further notice. The move achieves three important goals: makes Buncombe County eligible for state and federal funds correlated to coronavirus; sends a clear message to the community that this is a serious health concern; and that all municipalities in the County are working in a coordinated fashion. 

Declaring a local state of emergency also allows the County to open its emergency operations center (EOC). Emergency Services Director Taylor Jones said that means having representatives from the County, its six municipalities, school systems, Red Cross, and other stakeholders in one room. “One of the most important things a community can do is come together in a unified fashion and make decisions jointly,” noted Jones. The EOC will also allow the County to establish testing sites. “We are taking steps to strengthen community partnerships and protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Jones, noting there is an intentional effort to raise awareness at high-risk facilities like nursing homes.

Update on coronavirus in Buncombe County

As of March 12, 2:30 p.m., there are 14 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus and one CDC-confirmed case in North Carolina, according the County Health Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore. There are no cases in Buncombe County, but several people in the County are under investigation. “We are working closely with the medical community in making sure people under investigation are being managed appropriately and there is no further risk of exposure,” said Dr. Mullendore. She also urged anyone with symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty breathing to call your doctor for an assessment. If you don’t have a primary care provider, please contact an urgent care facility. Health care officials are stressing that you do not show up before calling.

This is an evolving situation and information is constantly changing. For more resources on prevention best practices and news updates, visit Buncombe Ready

Information sourced from Buncombe County website

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Friday, March 13, 2020 9:31:00 AM

Coronavirus Preparations & Information 

The Town has been working closely with local, state, and federal partners as the novel coronavirus has spread. The lead agency for this issue within Buncombe County is the County Health and Human Services (HHS) Department. HHS has set up a comprehensive website with Buncombe County specific information - this is where all residents should turn first when asking questions related to the coronavirus in Buncombe County.

Buncombe County Coronavirus Information

Additionally, there is no better source of information for the national perspective than following the guidelines from the Centers for the Disease Control (CDC). Their website contains information regarding the spread of coronavirus, how to help prevent transmission, and the latest information regarding new outbreaks. 

CDC Coronavirus Information

From the Town’s perspective, staff and the Board are involved in discussions regarding what to do if a case was confirmed within our area. As noted above, we are working closely with Buncombe HHS and our local emergency service providers (Skyland Fire, Buncombe County EOC, Biltmore Forest PD) to ensure the safety of our first responders and the general public. This page will be updated as more information becomes available from a local perspective - but please, use the links and resources noted above as your FIRST guide to dealing and preparing for this virus. 

 

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:56:00 AM

Board of Commissioners Meeting 

Regular Meeting held Tuesday, March 10

The next regular meeting of the Biltmore Forest Board of Commissioners will be held Tuesday, March 10th at 4:30 p.m. A copy of the agenda packet can be found by accessing this link.

Subjects to be discussed at this month’s meeting include a Census presentation from the regional Census representative; a budget amendment for FY20; a roofing repair proposal for the Police Department; the consideration of a Title VI policy for the Town; a request for a temporary waiver from the Town Ordinances for invasive species removal; the consideration of amendments to the accessory structure ordinance; and discussion regarding additional stop signs within the Town. The public is invited to attend. 

 

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:51:00 AM

Design Review Board Meeting 

Board Meets Thursday, Feb 27 at 5:30

The next meeting of the Biltmore Forest Design Review Board will be held Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall. The agenda packet for this meeting may be found by clicking this link.

For additional information or questions, please contact the Town Hall at (828) 274-0824.

Posted by Jonathan Kanipe Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2:41:00 PM
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