COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Town of Franklin, NC Information For Citizens & Visitors

Town of Franklin, NC COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus Public Notices, Information & Resources

September 17 Update: 20 Active Cases of COVID-19 in Macon County, 557 Recovered, 7 Deaths | 584 Total Cases

Symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, other lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath). If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-349-2517. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm, until further notice.

The Macon County Public Health COVID-19 Screening Call Center is operating on the following schedule to allow for employees to take a lunch break: Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. If you are unable to call during these hours, please leave a message and it will be returned during normal operating hours.

North Carolina to Remain Paused in Safer At Home Phase 2 through 5:00 pm Friday, September 4, 2020 - STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT FOR FACE COVERINGS

» Read Executive Order 155 | » Read NCDHHS Interim Guidance of Face Coverings

NEW! North Carolina to enter Safer at Home Phase 2.5 at 5:00 pm on Friday, September 4, 2020 - STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT FOR FACE COVERINGS CONTINUES - In effect until October 2, 2020 at 5:00 pm

» Read Executive Order 163 | » Phase 2.5 FAQ (these documents are in PDF format)

Phase 2.5 means the following for North Carolina:

  • Mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
  • Playgrounds may open.
  • Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity.
  • Gyms and indoor exercise facilities, such as yoga studios, martial arts, and rock climbing, as well as skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball, volleyball etc., may open at 30% capacity.
  • Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks, dance halls will remain closed.
  • Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits.

Macon County recommends that business owners consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on what employers and employees should do if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Macon County leadership is committed to remaining transparent with the public and encourages businesses to be open with the public as well. For more guidance about employee exposure, visit the CDC by clicking here.

Macon County Reports 3 Additional Deaths Related to COVID-19

Three Macon County residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. These individuals were over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. To protect the families ́ privacy, no further information will be released about these patients.

“We are extremely saddened by these losses. As this pandemic is affecting our entire community, today we pray for these families coping with this devastating news.” stated Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director.

Mrs. McGaha continued, “It is so important that each of us do what we can to limit the spread of this virus. We can make a difference by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying 6 feet from others. Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Macon County Schools Update

Wednesday, September 16 - Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified at Franklin High School

Today we were notified that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Franklin High School. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Public Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Thursday, September 10 - Board of Education Special Called Meeting Update

On a motion made by Tommy Cabe and seconded by Fred Goldsmith, the Board approved by a 5-0 vote to lift the suspension of face-to-face instruction for Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and Union Academy. Students at Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and Union Academy will return to their face-to-face, Plan B schedule beginning Monday, September 14, 2020. Fridays will remain a remote learning day. All Franklin area K-4 schools as well as Macon Early College, Highlands School and Nantahala School will continue on with their current plan.

On a motion made by Tommy Cabe and seconded by Fred Goldsmith, the Board voted 4-1, with Stephanie McCall opposing the motion, to approve Franklin High School’s request to lift the suspension of face-to-face instruction for Franklin High School. Students at Franklin High School will return to their face-to-face, Plan B schedule on Monday, September 14, 2020. Freshmen will attend on Mondays, Sophomores on Tuesdays, Juniors on Wednesdays, and Seniors on Thursdays. Fridays will remain a remote learning day for everyone. The expectation is for Franklin High School students to begin face-to-face instruction two days per week no later than September 28, 2020 or as soon as all social distancing protocols can be met.

Tuesday, September 1 - School Nutrition Update

USDA has extended waivers that will allow Macon County Schools to continue to serve students through the Summer Food Service Program through December 2020. All students will continue to be able to eat for free!

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact School Nutrition Director David Lightner at david.lightner@macon.k12.nc.us or 828-524-3314 ext. 1010.

Friday, August 28 - Staff Member at Iotla Valley Elementary Tests Positive for COVID-19

Today, we were notified that a staff member at Iotla Valley Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is currently underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

Tuesday, August 24 - Macon County Public Health Identifies a Cluster at a Macon County School

Macon County Public Health has identified a cluster of individuals at Franklin High School who have tested positive and are isolated from others. All staff and students who have potentially been exposed to these individuals have been contacted and will be tested for COVID-19.

In addition to Franklin High School staff and students, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual/parent, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing. MCPH’s Medical Director and Macon County Public Schools are working together to limit the spread of COVID-19 among staff, students, and the community.

Sunday, August 23 - Student Tests Positive at East Franklin Elementary School

Today we were notified that a student at East Franklin Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently under quarantine. Contact tracing is currently underway through the Macon County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through the contact tracing will be notified. Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we monitor this situation.

» Download Macon County Schools Reopening Plan

» Find Latest Updates on MCS Facebook Page

August 10 - Macon County Reports 4th Death Related to COVID-19

A Macon County resident diagnosed with COVID-19 has died. The person was over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions. To protect the family´s privacy, no further information will be released about this patient.

“The family and loved ones of this individual are in our thoughts and prayers. As we head back to school, please continue to practice the 3Ws and be mindful of those that are higher risk,” stated Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director.

Mrs. McGaha continued, “We can make a difference by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying 6 feet from others. Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Macon County Emergency Services has set-up a new non-emergency telephone number to answer any COVID-19 Questions. Call 828-349-2517.

Due to the enormous amount of information available to our citizens, the Town of Franklin, North Carolina has expanded the information on our website concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. This page will serve as information for the Town of Franklin along with related resources. See complete information by scrolling down the page.

You may also click on the images and/or links below for information from Macon County, the State of North Carolina, and reliable resources for coronavirus updates.

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State of North CarolinaCoronavirus Information

North Carolina enters Safer At Home Phase 2.5 until at least through October 2, 2020 - STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT FOR FACE COVERINGS

  • Mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
  • Playgrounds may open.
  • Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity.
  • Gyms and indoor exercise facilities, such as yoga studios, martial arts, and rock climbing, as well as skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball, volleyball etc., may open at 30% capacity.
  • Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks, dance halls will remain closed.
  • Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits.

» LEARN MORE

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Macon County NCCoronavirus Information

Regulations imposed in Macon County (Less the Towns of Franklin and Highlands) by the Macon County Emergency Management Coordinator in connection with the COVID-19 Pandemic will be repealed, cancelled and ended effective May 8, 2020 at 05:00 PM. Executive Orders of the Governor of the State of North Carolina are still valid and remain in full force and effect, including limits on mass gatherings, and retail social distancing requirements.

»LEARN MORE


The entire state of North Carolina is under an extended“Safer at Home” executive order with face coverings mandatory in public settings, currently under phase two. This order is in effect until 5:00 pm on Friday, September 11.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness. Therefore, we ask that community members strictly follow the governor’s orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions by clicking here.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website and NCDHHS’ website, which also includes future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

MCPH regularly updates our Facebook page with accurate and current information regarding COVID-19; we encourage the public to check our Facebook page by clicking here for up-to-date information.

TOWN OF FRANKLIN NC REOPENINGS, CLOSURES & CANCELLATIONS

  • The rental of Memorial Park is suspended until September 11, 2020. Festivals and Events at the Gazebo are suspended until September 11, 2020. Due to the Governors Executive Order. However, if anyone wishes to have a parade, demonstration, or rally they need to contact Chief Harrell at the Franklin Police Department.

  • Town Hall lobby remains closed due to COVID-19. Customers are encouraged to mail in payments and utilize the drop box at Town Hall.

  • Pickin on the Square - Postponed until further notice.

  • Bars are closed.

  • The Franklin ABC Store will be limiting operational hours. The store will close at 6:00 p.m. each day.

State of NC Launches New COVID-19 Web Portal

The State of North Carolina has launched a new COVID-19 web portal at nc.gov/covid19 in an effort to gather all the COVID-19 related information from a wide range of State agencies. The existing DHHS site at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus will remain, and its content is accessible from the new site.

» VISIT NEW NORTH CAROLINA COVID-19 WEB PORTAL

PUBLIC NOTICES

Utility Accounts Public Notice

Notice is hereby given that the Town of Franklin will suspend reconnection fees, late penalties and interest on Town of Franklin utility accounts for at least the next sixty (60) days. This is effective as of March 10, 2020, and is now extended pursuant to North Carolina Executive Order 124 and any extensions thereof.

We know that many of our customers are struggling during these difficult and uncertain times and we are committed to providing clean, safe drinking water so that you and your family can remain healthy. To make sure you are not surprised by a large past due balance later, we will continue to notify you when your account is past due. Our staff is available to work with you to set up a payment arrangement or assist with scheduling automatic payments.

Hard copies of North Carolina Executive Order 124 are available for pick up at Town Hall located at 95 East Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734. You may also download NCEO 124 here. For questions or assistance please call 828-524-2516.


CUSTOMER INQUIRIES & MAKING PAYMENTS

Attention all customer’s due to the growing concern for COVID-19 novel coronavirus, if you have a general question or inquiry please knock on the window at the Franklin Town Hall reception area during business hours and someone will be able to assist you.

If come to Franklin Town Hall to make a utility or tax payment please utilize the drop box payment located out front. If you need a receipt, please put that request in envelope and we can mail, fax, or email that to you. If you have a question regarding a utility or tax payment please call 828-524-2516.

For assistance or questions regarding these notices, please call the Town of Franklin at 828-524-2516.

INFORMATION FROM THE FRANKLIN POLICE DEPARTMENT

During the COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently facing, the Franklin Police Department will continually evaluate and update its day-to-day operations as needed. Changes in operation and response protocols will be implemented to protect sworn and non-sworn personnel and the public as we continue to serve the community. » READ THE LATEST UPDATES

    Balsam West Establishes Free WI-FI Hotspot in Franklin

    Balsam West has established a drive-in Wi-Fi hotspot that is free and open to the public at the Franklin Plaza parking lot in Franklin. The SSID is Balsamwest and the login is balsamwest . » More information at Balsam West

LOCAL BUSINESS RESOURCES

The new website, www.ReopeningMacon.com, is available for a full list of resources available to local businesses. Additional resources are below.

August 6 Update - NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES JOB RETENTION GRANTS

If your business or non-profit organization experienced interruption due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the new Job Retention Grant (JRG) Program may be able to offer assistance. The maximum grant amount may be up to two months of the eligible entity’s average monthly payroll costs from 2019 plus an additional 25% of that amount. The grant amount may not exceed $250,000.

To qualify to receive these grant funds, your organization must meet some specific eligibility requirements, which you can review below. We also encourage you to read carefully these instructions, which will help you gather the information and documentation you'll need before filling out the online application form.

NC Commerce provides answers to the most frequent questions about the program here, and you can also review the underlying law that authorizes the program.

Applications are being accepted from now until the application deadline of Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 11:59pm. No applications will be accepted after that time. No grants will be awarded before the September 1 deadline, and the potential amount of each grant will not be determined until all applications have been reviewed and awarded.

The JRG team is available to assist you. Email your questions or comments to: jrg@nccommerce.com.

» GO TO THE ONLINE APPLICATION FORM

OTHER RESOURCES

» Download Macon Clean & Safe Business & Restaurant Posters (pdf)

» Add Your Business to Reopening Macon Website (click "Add a Business" in the upper right corner)

» See Reopening Resources for your business from the Macon County Ecomonic Development Commission

» Count on Me NC - A free online training program to help restaurants, hotels and other businesses learn the best ways to protect customers and employees from COVID-19. » VISIT WEBSITE

March 26 , 2020 - UPDATE - Emergency Proclamation 2020-2

» READ PROCLAMATION HERE (pdf)

Overview (please read complete text of download above for complete information):

During the State of Emergency previously declared within the corporate jurisdiction of the Town of Franklin, all lodging facilities including hotels, motels, resorts, inns, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, RV parks, vacation cabins, home rentals, and any and all short term rentals or leases within the said jurisdiction are ordered to be closed to the public at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27th, 2020. For purposes of this proclamation, the term 'short-term' shall mean for a term of less than twenty-eight (28) days in duration.

Existing non-short-term rentals or leases that are continuously occupied are excluded from the operation of this declaration. The following persons and activities are further exempted:
a. Employees and independent contractors of the Town, County of Macon, any provider of medical care, or government or public utility.
b. Military, National Guard, or law enforcement personnel deployed and/or assigned to assist local agencies during the Local State of Emergency.
c. Town residents who occupy a lodging facility due to circumstances that have rendered the person's usual place of residence uninhabitable.
d. Anyone ordered quarantined within a lodging facility by an appropriate public health official.
e. Homeless persons occupying a lodging facility prior to the effective date and time of this proclamation; use of lodging facilities needed to house the homeless of the Town of Franklin in an emergency related to the COVID-19 response.
f. Use of a lodging facility if used as an emergency facility to assist with the COVlD-l9 response

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY OR UNTIL MODIFIED OR RESCINDED

Mass gatherings of persons in groups of more than 10 people are prohibited.. A mass gathering is defined as any event or convening that brings together more than 10 people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, area, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes parades, fairs, and festivals.

Childcare facilities are permitted to remain open pursuant to guidance from the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education.

Executive Orders issued and amended by the Governor of North Carolina including orders prohibiting or restricting the operation of business establishments, the congregation of people as well as the movement of people in public places, including but not limited to Executive orders number 116, 117, 118,119 and 120, will be enforced by local law enforcement officers or other agencies as appropriate.

All persons are urged to maintain social distancing (approximately six (6) feet away from other people) whenever possible and to continue to wash hands, and practice proper respiratory etiquette (including coughing into elbow).

lt is recommended lhat all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the area of , "community spread," currently including the states of New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Florida, and which shall also include other states which are subsequently designated areas of "community spread," and entering into the Town of Franklin for the Sole purpose of relocating temporarily into an area of less substantial spread, shall be subject to Quarantine and/or lsolation Orders by the Macon County Health Director in accordance with applicable state law and are hereby specificaily requested to quarantine or isolate themselves, as appropriate, for a period of fourteen (14) days to limit exposure to our residents and prevent a hardship for local infrastructure, including the healthcare industry.

March 17, 2020 - Town of Franklin Declares State of Emergency

» READ DECLARATION HERE (pdf)