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home : news : business July 6, 2020

5/8/2020 11:15:00 PM
Reopening

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer


Phase One of Governor Cooper's three phase 'reopening' plan began at 5 PM Friday.  Some businesses that had been closed for the month of April will now reopen--but with some restrictions still in place.

The City of Lincolnton issued a news release related to the reopening:

If you leave home, know your W's and be a good neighbor!

As Lincoln County and the City of Lincolnton move into Phase 1 Reopening starting May 8, the Lincoln County Health Department, along with the county and the city, wants to remind citizens about steps they can take to protect themselves and their neighbors. The Stay at Home Order remains in place with some modifications and, when possible, residents should still stay at home, especially anyone who is feeling sick. Additionally, individuals with health complications that make them more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 complications should evaluate their risk and act accordingly.

In order to easily remember the best way to practice precautions and reduce risk of exposure, follow the guidance for the “Three W’s.”

What is different about Phase 1?
This Phase 1 Executive Order does the following:

  • Eliminates the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses;
  • Allows most retail businesses (with exceptions) that can comply with specific requirements to open at 50 percent capacity;
  • Allows people to leave home for non-essential goods or services;
  • Encourages state parks and trails that are closed to open;
  • Specifically allows people to gather outdoors while following the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission, and with up to ten people;
  • Opens child care to working families; and 
  • Encourages North Carolinians to wear cloth face coverings when outside the home in order to protect others.

Phase 1 allows more businesses to reopen with some restrictions. Businesses should take precautions to minimize the opportunity for COVID-19 transmission at their facility. For a checklist designed to help retail businesses and agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, click this LINK.

What requirements do retail businesses need to follow?
All retail businesses open to the public must:

  • Direct customers and staff to stay at least six feet apart except at point of sale if applicable;
  • Limit occupancy to not more than 50 percent of stated fire capacity and ensure that social distancing of six feet apart is possible;
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic customer areas;
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for COVID-19;
  • Provide, whenever available, hand sanitizer stations, and ensure soap and hand drying materials are available at sinks;
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of employees before entering the workplace and immediately send symptomatic workers home;
  • Have a plan in place to immediately isolate an employee from work if symptoms develop; and;
  • Post signage at the main entrances to remind people about Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission, to request people who are or have recently been symptomatic not to enter, and to notify customers of the reduced store capacity.

During this challenging time, it is important to remember that we are all in this together. Please be respectful of others, take precautions as appropriate for you and your family, and above all, be patient and kind. Public health experts suggest that if restrictions are eased gradually with safety practices still in place, North Carolina can benefit from increased economic activity while still keeping new case counts to a minimum.

In Gaston County,  Eastridge Mall reopened Friday evening but not all mall stores participated. Some of the mall's restaurants were open for takeout orders, but the food court seating remained closed off. Belk at Eastridge was reopening on Saturday; the Lincolnton Belk store was scheduled to reopen Monday.

The mall will now be open from 11-7 Saturday, noon-6 Sunday; then 11-7 weekdays and noon-6 Sunday afternoons.

In Hickory, several of the shops at Union Square reopened Friday evening.  Others were readying to open Saturday morning.  The chairs and tables in the Union Square commons area have remained open and some have bought food at area restaurants and eaten there.  

While Phase One began Friday, hair & nail salons, barber shops, gyms, bars, and theaters must remain closed. Restaurants remain limited to delivery and take-out service.  Churches can hold outdoor services, but must maintain 'social distancing.'  Since the limit of no more than 10 remains in place for gatherings, worship services in church sanctuaries still won't be possible until Phase Two which may begin in two weeks.



1 - West Lincoln Vet Regular Ad

Stores aren't the only thing reopening.  Beginning Saturday (May 9th), some locations of the Catawba County Library will open their doors to the public for the first time since March 17th, restoring direct access to computers, library materials, and other in-house resources.

Operating under Governor Cooper’s Phase One requirements, the library will implement limited occupancy, social distancing, and safety protocols.

The Sherrills Ford-Terrell, Southwest, and St. Stephens branches will operate with their pre-COVID service hours. The Main Library at Newton will be open from 10 - 7  Monday-Thursday (new hours) and 9 - 6  Friday & Saturday. The Claremont, Conover, and Maiden branches will reopen at a later date yet to be determined.

To accommodate library visitors safely under these new state requirements, the library will put into practice the following procedures:

  • Limited and Timed Access: In order to maintain social distancing and sanitizing guidelines, a certain number of patrons will be permitted to enter the library at any given time. Each one will check in with a staff member for a one-hour period of access. When the hour is up, that patron will exit, and the next person in line will be admitted. Patrons are encouraged to call ahead to check on availability and potential waits. We also ask that customers with COVID-19 symptoms do not join us at this time.
  • Signage and Markings: To help with social distancing and the formation of orderly lines, signage and painted/taped guides will be installed at the entrances to the buildings and inside each branch.
  • Enhanced Safety: The library has installed service desk shields and has provided face masks and face shields to staff members. They will wear gloves and sanitize high-touch surfaces (computers, keyboards, mice, printers, copiers, furnishings, etc.) between customer use. Customers are encouraged to wear masks and to use sanitizing supplies provided at the library.
  • Staff Health: All staff will be screened daily for symptoms and will not be allowed to work if they are unwell.
  • Meeting Spaces and In-House Library Programs: These will be reintroduced at a later date as safety restrictions allow.

Customers who are not yet comfortable entering a library building may continue to take advantage of curbside pick-up service at the Newton and Sherrills Ford-Terrell locations. Books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other materials may be reserved through the library’s online catalog (www.catawbacountync.gov/library) or by calling any branch for personal assistance. Library team members are ready to help with your information needs by telephone as well.

The library also offers a robust selection of digital resources that are available 24/7 from any location where patrons have an internet connection. A library card and PIN number are typically needed to sign in and electronically borrow books, movies, music, graphic novels, magazines, and more. Free databases can also help with career and job development, training and certification, legal forms, ancestry searches, personal learning and research, language learning, and early childhood literacy. In addition, the library has laptop computers and Wi-Fi hotspots available for checkout, and customers can place a hold or contact their library about availability.

The library will continue issuing automatic renewals and isolating returned materials for 72 hours, with no late fees.

For more information about the Phase One reopenings or the Catawba County Library’s resources and services, visit www.catawbacountync.gov/library, call 828-465-8665, email mylibrary@catawbacountync.gov, or visit @catawbacountylibrarysystem on Facebook.

 

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