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Government services, schools, colleges, courts and parks: What's open, closed and canceled because of coronavirus

Government services, schools, colleges, courts and parks: What's open, closed and canceled because of coronavirus

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Charlene Lehew helps children with bags of food and household supplies in a north Greensboro neighborhood on Monday.

COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, has led to numerous closings, cancellations, postponements and schedule changes.

Here are major public-service and hospital-related updates that affect the Greensboro area. This roundup was last updated at noon April 22 with official and unofficial counts of COVID-19 cases statewide.

Stay-at-home orders

In North Carolina: A statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect until April 29. Click here to read the statewide orderClick here for a related FAQ.

The order generally means people should stay home and travel and interact with others only for essential reasons. People may leave their homes to go to work if employed by an essential business, to care for a family member or friend, to seek medical care, to buy food and other essentials and to exercise. 

The order also permits businesses deemed essential to remain open. These include restaurants (for takeout, drivethru and delivery only), grocery stores, pharmacies, ABC stores, hardware stores, post offices, office supply stores, gas stations and convenience stores, veterinarians and pet supply stores, some travel-related businesses (hotels, airlines, buses, taxis, and rideshare services), places of worship and some childcare providers. The governor's order lists 30 categories of businesses considered essential. Other businesses are expected to close.

A similar stay-at-home order in Guilford County, in place since late March, has expired. Greensboro, High Point and the county's towns and unincorporated areas remains covered by North Carolina's stay-at-home order.

For questions about the state order, call 211. Click here for more details about the state's response to COVID-19.

Cone Health

Cone Health has converted the former Women's Hospital site, now known as the Green Valley campus, to care for patients with severe cases of the coronavirus who are admitted by their doctors or transferred from other sites. 

Cone Health hospitals remain open but have strict visitation restrictions. In most cases, patients can receive no visitors. The exceptions are women in labor (one visitor who is either a spouse, partner or doula), children under 18 (two parents or guardians) and people at the end of life (up to four people).

Visitors to Cone Health facilities for doctor's appointments, lab work, physical therapy, imaging services and other services are limited to a patient and one other person.

Cone Health has limited surgeries, medical procedures, office visits and imaging to reduce the use of medical supplies.

Cone Health has separate care stations for those with respiratory symptoms at Moses Cone Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro, MedCenter High Point, Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville and Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington.

Cone Health has closed all 12 of its outpatient rehabilitation clinics. Click here for those locations.

Cone Health is accepting donations of medical supplies from individuals, businesses and community organizations. The health system is seeking N95 masks, surgical masks, goggles and safety glasses, medical-grade swabs (individually packaged and sealed), disposable non-cloth surgical gowns, shoe covers, and hair and head caps. For details about how to donate these items, click here.

For more details, visit conehealth.com/coronavirus. The site has information on what to do if you think you have COVID-19, ways to help, what to do if you're sick and more details to changes in its regular operations.

Restaurants and retail

Gov. Roy Cooper signed two executive orders in March and a third April 9 aimed at limiting crowds and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The first, issued March 17, prohibits all N.C. restaurants and bars from offering sit-down on-premises service. Drive-thru and walk-in pickup options are still permitted. Click here for a list compiled by the News & Record of locally owned restaurants that offer curbside pickup. 

The second, signed March 23, closed many types of entertainment and personal care businesses.

On April 9, the governor issued an executive order that imposes social-distancing requirements on retailers that are still open, establishes mandatory protective measures for nursing homes and seeks to speed up the processing of state unemployment benefits. 

Effective April 13, retailers must restrict the number of people inside their stores at any one time, clean their stores frequently and mark 6-foot spaces at checkout lines and other places where people gather. Click here to read an Associated Press story about the announcement, and click here to read the executive order.

N.C. coronavirus cases

North Carolina has 7,220 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 242 reported deaths as of 11 a.m. April 22. Click here for the latest North Carolina count, which is updated each morning by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 226 reported coronavirus cases in Guilford County with 14 deaths as of April 22, according to state health officials.

The News & Observer of Raleigh, which is collecting data from county health departments and other sources in addition to the N.C. DHHS count, said the number of N.C. cases is at least 7,333, with 261 deaths, as of 12:15 p.m. April 22.

The News & Observer, citing the DHHS, said the number of reported cases gives an incomplete picture of the scope of the coronavirus because not all ill people are tested. In some counties, only seniors, health care workers, first responders and people with prior medical conditions are tested.

For details about N.C.'s response to COVID-19, visit the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.

To reach the N.C. coronavirus hotline, call 866-462-3821.

To get non-medical assistance related to coronavirus, contact NC 2-1-1, operated by the United Way of North Carolina, by dialing 211. NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that gives free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community. More: nc211.org.

To get general information and updates about coronavirus, North Carolina residents can text COVIDNC to 898211.

For a count of cases in the United States, click here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates this report every afternoon.

City of Greensboro

The city of Greensboro has announced numerous changes to its operations:

• Starting April 18, city boards and commissions with time-sensitive issues may meet electronically. Click here for more details. The city had previously canceled all board and commission meetings through April 17.

• The city has announced options for people having trouble paying their Greensboro water and sewer bill. To set up a payment plan, call 336-373-2489 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Friday. Call that same number to reconnect water service that was cut off for nonpayment prior to mid-March. Click here for more details.

• City-run skate parks and basketball courts are now closed. All public restrooms are closed at Gateway Gardens, Greensboro Arboretum, Bicentennial Garden, Barber Park, Country Park, Hester Park, Keeley Park, Market Street, Lake Daniel Park, Lake Brandt, Lake Higgins and Lake Townsend.

• Effective April 3, the city is waiving some penalties and fees associated with residential and non-residential code compliance. Property owners and contractors may continue to do maintenance and repairs on buildings, and city inspectors will still do required inspections. Click here for more details or call 336-373-2111.

• Greensboro Transit Authority has reduced bus service. Buses are running on an hourly schedule and on the seven combined runs — Routes 21 through 27 — usually offered Sundays. Click here to see the Sunday routes and route maps. New service hours are 5:15 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. SCAT buses will continue regular operations during the same hours as GTA buses. All GTA and SCAT buses are free to ride. HEAT service has been suspended.

• The city has suspended residential yard waste and bulk waste collection. Yard waste can be taken to the White Street Landfill at 2503 White St. The city has suspended fees for city residents who bring yard waste to the landfill in cars, vans, pickup trucks and non-dumping trailers. Dump trucks and dump trailers still will be charged the $40-per-ton fee. Landfill hours are 7:50 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Yard waste left on the curb will not be collected. City crews will take away bulk waste — furniture, mattresses, appliances and other oversized items — only by appointment. Call 336-373-2489 to schedule a pickup. Garbage and recycling collections will continue on their regular schedules.

• The Melvin Municipal Office Building is closed to the public. The only in-person service offered is to people who are paying a water bill or signing up for new water service. That service is available only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. 

• Greensboro police and fire services will remain unchanged. For emergencies, call 911. The police department's headquarters at 100 E. Police Plaza in downtown Greensboro is closed to the public except for people retrieving towed cars and people who want printed reports but don't have internet access. Public fingerprinting and property and evidence pick-up have been suspended. The Maple Street and Swing Road substations are closed to the public. 

• The Greensboro Central Library and all city library branches are closed indefinitely. Several online resources remain available for library patrons, including the N.C. Digital Library, NC Kids, NC Live, the video streaming service Kanopy and more. Click here for details.

• City-operated indoor recreation centers, museums, cultural centers and the Greensboro Aquatic Center remain closed. All recreational facilities and playgrounds at city parks are also closed. City-operated trails, greenways and neighborhood parks remain open from dawn to dusk daily. For play-at-home options for children, click here.

• Lakes and regional parks — Lake Brandt, Lake Higgins, Lake Townsend and Barber, Country, Hester, and Keeley parks — are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Offices at parks and lakes are closed to the public. There will be no bait sales or boat rentals. Fishing is permitted but pier usage is limited to 10 people at a time.

• Bryan Park and Gillespie Golf Course are operating on their usual schedules but are restricting the number of people inside their pro shops and limiting rentals to one golfer per cart.

• Forest Lawn, Green Hill, Maplewood and Union cemeteries are open. Burial services will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and be limited to no more than 10 participants.

• Greensboro Farmers Curb Market is closed until further notice. Visit www.gsofarmersmarket.org for a list of vendors.

For more details about city of Greensboro closings, click here or call 336-373-2489.

Guilford County

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners, in a meeting April 8, exempted county workers who are emergency responders — law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management workers, 911 operators, and others — from a part of a new federal law that gives workers up to three months of paid leave to care for family members and others affected by COVID-19. Click here to read more about the board's decision. Click here to watch video of the meeting.

Here are details about changes to Guilford County operations:

Parks: All Guilford County park event centers, pools and learning centers are closed. All organized recreation events and facility rentals, including shelters and Hagan-Stone Park campground sites, are canceled through April 13. County parks, trails and open spaces remain open. Public and private playgrounds except for private play structures located on residential property are closed.

Animals: The Guilford County Animal Shelter is closed to the public except in certain circumstances. All rabies clinics, classes, tours and other public events are canceled through April 13. People surrendering stray animals or claiming animals can drop in without an appointment. Effective March 28, owner surrender appointments are suspended through April 12. Also effective March 28, all adoptions are free and will be done by appointment. Call 336-641-3401 to schedule a visit or for more information.

Law enforcement: Visitation to the Guilford County jail is suspended until further notice except for attorney visits, medical and mental health providers and other law enforcement agencies. Fingerprinting for job applications and background checks are suspended. Applicants for pistol purchase and concealed carry permits must start the process online via Permitium.com. Onsite applications are suspended.

Evictions: The Guilford County Sheriff's Office extended its moratorium on enforcement of eviction orders through May 1.

Veterans services: The Greensboro Veterans Services Office will remain open. The High Point office has closed. Call 336-641-4684 to get help completing applications.

Tax department: The Guilford County Tax Department offices in both High Point and Greensboro are closed for face-to face services. For information, call 336-641-3363, email indtax@guilfordcountync.gov or visit the department's website.

Social services: The Guilford County Department of Social Services offices in Greensboro and High Point are closed to the public. Call 336-641-3000 or click here for numbers to call for specific services.

Register of Deeds: The county's Register of Deeds office is largely closed to the public. Certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates are available only online or by mail. Marriage licenses and notary oaths will be available daily by appointment; call 336-641-7730 in Greensboro and 336-641-6935 in High Point to schedule one. Guilford County magistrates have suspended performing civil marriage ceremonies. The Land Records Research areas in Greensboro and High Point remain open. Click here for more details about Register of Deeds operations.

Department of Public Health: The pharmacy and clinical services remain open but schedules may have changed. Dental services have been suspended. Walk-in traffic for death certificate processing also has been suspended. Click here for more details about changes to health department operations.

Click here for more details about Guilford County closings and changes to operations. For details about the countywide stay-at-home declaration, click here.

Schools

Public schools in North Carolina will remain closed through at least May 15.

End-of-grade and end-of-course state tests for the 2019-20 school year have been canceled pending approval from the legislatureThe N.C. High School Athletic Association has said high school sports will remain suspended through at least May 18. 

Guilford County Schools is closed to students. School buildings and administrative offices are closed to the public. Most employees are working remotely.

Teacher-created lessons are available through Canvas, the online learning management system used by the district. The school system wants students to take part in these online lessons to stay on their academic track, but the district said teachers won't be taking attendance or awarding grades. Instructions about gaining access to Canvas are posted here. Families who do not have access to a tablet, laptop or desktop computer should contact their child's school.

The school district has asked people with Canvas login issues to contact their teacher. Those with technical support issues with student devices can call the district's Technology Services office at 336-370-8179.

The school district has set up Wi-Fi hotspots in parking lots of eight public schools. These internet access points are Herbin-Metz Education Center, Hunter Elementary, McNair Elementary, Simkins Elementary and Western Middle in Greensboro; Jamestown Middle and Christine Joyner Greene Education Center in Jamestown; and Eastern High School in Gibsonville.

Here's a link to other educational resources compiled by Guilford County Schools.

Guilford County Schools has set up two emergency hotlines for families and students.

An informational hotline will handle questions for families and employees about school closures, health, food, digital learning, special education, learning resources and employee relations. That number is 336-332-7290. This hotline will operate 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday through at least March 30. Interpreters will be available to answer questions from speakers of Arabic, French, Kinyarwanda, Rade, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu and Vietnamese.

The GCS crisis hotline for students concerned about anxiety, depression, abuse, hunger or other issues is 336-332-7295. This number is staffed around the clock weekdays and weekends.

The school district began limited food deliveries March 16 to vulnerable students at homeless shelters, motels and other transitional settings. Those deliveries will continue for at least two weeks.

Guilford County Schools has set up nearly 100 grab-and-go food sites across the county for any children 18 and younger. Meals — lunch for that day and breakfast for the following morning — can be picked up from 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

Children may get meals at any grab-and-go site regardless of assigned school. Click here for the most current list of all meal pickup sites, and click here for a map.

Parents across North Carolina who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to find nearby free meal sites. For Spanish-speakers, text COMIDA to 877-877. Click here to see a map that shows locations of food-assistance programs.

To visit the Guilford County Schools coronavirus information page, click here.

Courts

N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley on April 3 extended postponements of most District and Superior court proceedings through June 1. Click here to read a news release about the April 3 order. Click here to read the order.

First appearances, bond hearings and proceedings for emergency situations (domestic violence, temporary restraining orders, juvenile custody, etc.) will continue. All other court hearings must be scheduled after June 1 unless they can be held using audio and video transmissions. The latest order allows courts to conduct some proceedings remotely. People who have no court business or who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 won't be allowed to enter courthouses. Deadlines for payment of many court fines and fees have been extended for 90 days. Court documents may be filed by email.

On April 13, Beasley issued another order that extends court-filing deadlines to June 1 and extends the filing deadlines in bail bonds forfeiture cases to Sept. 30. Click here to read a news release about the April 13 order. Click here to read the order.

For more N.C. courts announcements, visit www.nccourts.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-updates.

Guilford Country courts and court offices have curtailed many of their hours and operations. Click here (and scroll down) for details about court hours and access in Guilford County.

Utilities

Gov. Roy Cooper on March 31 issued an executive order that bars utilities from disconnecting residential service for nonpayment through May 31. The order also prohibits electrical, natural gas, water and wastewater service utilities from charging late fees, penalties, interest or reconnection fees for residential service over the same period. 

Cable TV and internet companies aren't included in the order, but the governor has asked them to follow the same rules.

Colleges

Area colleges and universities have suspended in-person classes through the spring semester, canceled or postponed all on-campus activities, closed campus to all but a handful of students with special exceptions to remain and told nearly all professors and staff members to work from home. Most schools won't hold commencement in May. Several have reported that a student or other community member has contracted coronavirus.

Click on each school's name below to visit its coronavirus response page, which has many more details about operations on each campus.

UNCG: Commencement scheduled for May 7-8 will be combined with the previously scheduled Dec. 11 graduation ceremony, though UNCG has said it's exploring other fall dates. Summer session classes will be held online.

N.C. A&T: The two May 9 commencement ceremonies have been postponed to sometime later this summer. Summer session classes will be held online.

GTCC: While many curriculum classes are being taught online, many other types of classes, including workforce and continuing education classes, have been suspended or canceled. The May 7 commencement has been postponed.

Greensboro College: Commencement scheduled for May 9 has been postponed.

Guilford College: Commencement scheduled for May 16 has been postponed.

Bennett College: The college won't hold its traditional on-campus commencement on May 2. Instead, it will hold a virtual ceremony May 9.

Elon University School of Law: The law school's downtown Greensboro campus law is closed through the end of the spring trimester in June. The law school plans to hold summer school classes as well as first-year student orientation in August in-person.

Elon University: Commencement scheduled for May 22 has been postponed.

High Point University: Commencement scheduled for May 9 has been moved tentatively to August. 

N.C. parks and museums

Many state parks have been closed. The list of closed state parks and state recreation areas, updated April 1, includes: Carvers Creek, Cliffs of the Neuse, Crowders Mountain, Dismal Swamp, Elk Knob, Eno River, Falls Lake, Fort Fisher, Fort Macon, Gorges, Grandfather Mountain, Hanging Rock, Jordan Lake (including most boat ramps), Lake James, Lake Norman, Lake Waccamaw, Lumber River, Morrow Mountain, Mount Jefferson, Mount Mitchell, New River, Occoneechee Mountain, Pilot Mountain, Raven Rock, South Mountains, Stone Mountain and William B. Umstead. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is closed, but other park attractions are open. The Mayo Mountain access at Mayo River State Park is closed. Visitors should go to www.ncparks.gov or the park division's Facebook page to check the status of individual state parks.

At state parks and recreation trails that remain open, trails, boat ramps and fishing remain open. However, restrooms, visitors centers, offices, bathhouses and all overnight accommodations, including cabins and campgrounds, are closed, and all public programs have been canceled. Park staff remain on duty. Recreation in groups is strongly discouraged. All state parks close at sunset.

All art, history and natural sciences museums operated by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources are closed. This list of closed attractions include the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro, regional museums, state historic sites, state aquariums, Jennette's Pier in Nags Head and the State Library of North Carolina.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park on March 27 announced additional closings. In addition to its visitor center, the park has closed its restrooms and parking lots and suspended all programming. The tour road is closed to motor vehicles. Outdoor spaces remain open during regular operating hours, which are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The Greensboro Science Center will remain closed through April 30.

N.C. driver's license offices

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles has closed both driver license offices in Greensboro (on East Market Street and Coliseum Boulevard). About 60 other low-traffic offices statewide, including the one at the J. Douglas Galyon Depot in downtown Greensboro, also are closed.

Driver licenses offices in Graham, High Point, Kernersville and Wentworth (in Rockingham Country) remain open by appointment only. To make an appointment, call (919) 715-7000.

N.C. unemployment benefits

Laid-off workers with questions about the unemployment application and benefits can click here. Employers with questions can click here.

Malls

State restrictions on gatherings have affected operations at Greensboro's two largest malls.

Most Friendly Center stores are closed except for grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, banks and several other types of retailers. Click here for a list of Friendly Center stores that remain open. Note that some hours may have changed.

Four Seasons Town Centre has closed temporarily. Interior common areas are closed, and the mall walker program has been suspended. Restaurants and other stores with exterior entrance are still open. Call before you go.

Taxes

Federal and state income tax filing deadlines for individuals and businesses have been moved from the traditional April 15 date to July 15.

Tanger Center

The Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled to open March 20, has canceled and postponed multiple events scheduled for March and April. Click here for a list of postponed and rescheduled events. Click here for a list of canceled and postponed events scheduled for the Greensboro Coliseum.

If there are cancellations, postponements or changes to public services and major events not listed here, contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 or john.newsom@greensboro.com

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