As efforts build to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in U.S. communities, the N.C. League of Municipalities has assembled the following list of resources to aid or complement local governments’ response, along with helpful articles from the League's communications department. Please also monitor your local and national news outlets for updates. If you have a question for us with regard to COVID-19 and municipalities, please review the FAQ section below to see if we've already answered it. If not, please email
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Legal Issues: Public/Open Meetings
Employment & Human Resources
Workers' Compensation & Coronavirus Coverage
Childcare For Essential Local Government Employees
Health Benefits Trust - Notice of Fee Waivers & Health Insurance
Questions Posed to Governor on March 26 Call
CDC Community Mitigation Guide
UNC SOG Coates' Canons: Meetings and Public Hearings Under the Coronavirus State of Emergency
UNC SOG Coates' Canons: Guidance on Teleworking
National League of Cities Coronavirus Response Guide for Local Leaders
National League of Cities' Guide to Identifying Essential Workers
Vendors and Services to Help Local Governments
March 31, 2020 | Executive Order 124: Utilities, Evictions, Financial ServicesFiling for Unemployment (Guide from Division of Employment Security)
Unemployment and COVID-19 FAQ
March 31, 2020 | Executive Order 123: Extending Childhood Advisory Council
March 30, 2020 | Executive Order 122: State Surplus PropertyMarch 27, 2020 | Executive Order 121: Stay at HomeMarch 26, 2020 | Guidance on Open MeetingsMarch 23, 2020 | Executive Order 120: Closing Schools Until May 15 and Expanding Business Closings and GatheringsMarch 19, 2020 | FAQ Clarifying Executive Order 118 Re: Restaurants, Outdoor Dining Areas and MoreMarch 17, 2020 | Executive Order 118: Limiting Operations of Restaurants and Bars and Broadening Unemployment Insurance BenefitsMarch 14, 2020 | Executive Order 117: Governor Cooper Prohibits Mass Gatherings of 100+ & Directed Statewide School ClosuresMarch 10, 2020 | Governor Cooper Declares State Of Emergency To Respond To Coronavirus COVID-19North Carolina's Response to Coronavirus (NCDHHS)N.C. Emergency Management
Up-to-date Coronavirus info from the CDCCommunity Mitigation Strategy GuideCISA Memo on Identifying Essential WorkforceSmall Business ResourcesPreparing Communities for Potential Spread of COVID-19Resources for First Responders and Law EnforcementCoronavirus FAQsCommunications Resources Regarding CoronavirusWhat You Need to Know About COVID-19 (CDC onesheet) | (Spanish version)
By NCLM Communications, April 3, 2020
The events of the past weeks have changed circumstances dramatically and in ways that the available data does not yet reflect. We have surveyed the available information and done our best to synthesize that in a way that we think reflects the current reality for North Carolina’s municipalities, but if there is one common thread that runs among recent analyses, it is that this period of economic activity is unlike any seen in recent decades.What is unfortunately clear, Nida explained, is that cities and towns are facing substantial declines in revenue, due primarily to the drop in sales tax revenue, occupancy tax revenue, and utilities payments. Nida, responding to questions, confirmed that despite the lack of necessary data, the statutory deadlines for passing a budget have not been addressed by the N.C. legislature, and thus balanced budgets must still be ratified by July 1.
By NCLM Communications, April 3, 2020
By NCLM Communications, April 1, 2020
By NCLM Communications, April 1, 2020
Presenting to the N.C. House Select Committee on COVID-19 Tuesday, NCLM Chief Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia spoke clearly on the situation municipalities face as they navigate this health crisis.
“We've spent the past few weeks working with local officials as they've gone through horrible decisions that no local official wants to make," Wynia said.
Nearly every sector of life has been affected by the pandemic and subsequent social distancing, Wynia explained. Cities and towns have felt this acutely, as small business have shuttered their doors and local economies have grinded to a halt, resulting in severely diminished tax revenue from several different sources. These include sales tax, occupancy tax, and utilities payments. The services themselves, however, continue to be provided, making for fiscal shortfalls in nearly every municipality statewide.
As laid out by Wynia to lawmakers, North Carolina cities and towns face urgent needs in three areas. They are listed below.
Sales tax revenue account for approximately $1.3 billion annually, or 28 percent of the general operating budget for the median city in North Carolina. Occupancy taxes, which result primarily from the tourism industry, account for another $300 million. Local water systems serve 89 percent of the state's population.
All three areas will be severely impacted by this crisis—sales and occupancy tax revenue due to significantly diminished commercial activity, and utility revenue through non-payment and commercial/industrial customer loss.
Maintaining cash flows will be crucial. Without support, cities and towns will be forced to make budgetary cuts to public safety and transportation. The federal CARES Act directly appropriated funds to municipalities only with populations over 500,000, so for every city outside of Charlotte, these shortfalls will have to be addressed by additional legislation.
Budget Development and Procedural Clarification
This category represents perhaps the most pressing need.
First, municipalities, by law, must pass a budget by July 1. However, budgets are developed by balancing expenses with the upcoming year's projected revenue. The present crisis has made it nearly impossible to project revenue, making the process immensely complicated.
Second, the state needs to provide clarity on the authority to meet remotely. City affairs must proceed, but it is not clear how to maintain social distancing while also conducting full council meetings, board meetings, and public hearings.
“The need for reliable internet could not be more obvious right now," said Wynia. Yet, many parts of the state are disconnected. Passing the FIBER NC Act, which would allow for public-private partnerships to address the problem, must become a priority of the General Assembly.
Slides from the League's presentation can be viewed here.
By NCLM Communications, March 31, 2020
The unemployment rate is soaring upward nationwide as COVID-19 prompts measures that impact workplaces. Affected individuals in North Carolina can apply for unemployment benefits through the Division of Employment Security, with information at https://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment.
Additionally, the agency has published a Frequently Asked Questions page specific to unemployment and the coronavirus. It covers the fastest way to file a claim, materials you will need for filing, benefits info, and more.
By NCLM Communications, March 30, 2020
Last week, Gov. Roy Cooper and fellow state officials held a call with the League and more than 2,000 local government officials to brief everyone at once on the latest with the COVID-19 response. During the call, a chat window allowed the local officials to submit questions. The following is a roundup of questions asked with answers from the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a statewide stay-at-home order, effective 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30, for 30 days. The following is complete information from the governor's office:
Governor Roy Cooper ordered people in the state of North Carolina to stay at home for thirty days, until April 29, 2020, in another step to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Governor Cooper's Executive Order No. 121 takes effect on Monday, March 30 at 5:00 PM and reduces the size of gatherings to 10 people. The Order provides for essential businesses to continue to operate while prioritizing social distancing measures. The Order has the force of law and will be enforced in all 100 counties statewide.“To continue our aggressive battle against COVID-19, I have signed a Stay at Home Order for the entire state of North Carolina. Though it is difficult we must do this to slow the disease spread," said Governor Cooper. “We need our medical system to be able to care for the friends and family we know will become seriously ill from the virus."The Governor noted today that three North Carolinians have died due to COVID-19 and the state has 763 confirmed cases of the virus in 60 counties. He called on all North Carolinians to protect themselves by staying home and following social distancing guidelines. North Carolina is now considered to have widespread transmission of the virus, which means people who have tested positive cannot trace where they were exposed to the virus.The Order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others.“I know this order may lead to even more hardship and heartache. Although we are physically apart, we must take this step together in spirit," Governor Cooper said. The Governor's full order is available HERE [click.icptrack.com].Unless noted in the order, previous closures and orders stand as written as do local government orders in cities and counties. Frequently Asked Questions about the Order can be found HERE [click.icptrack.com].If you do not think your business is included in the essential services list, and you think it should be, you may apply online at the NC Department of Revenue to be designated essential HERE [click.icptrack.com]. Until your exemption is reviewed, you may operate as long as your business can accommodate social distancing in your workplace.For more information about health recommendations and who is designated at high risk for becoming seriously ill, please visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus [click.icptrack.com] and NCDHHS' website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus [click.icptrack.com].
By NCLM Communications, March 27, 2020
By NCLM Communications, March 26, 2020
With open-meetings law, even in bad weather, North Carolina cities and towns know what they're doing. But given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 impact on operations head-to-toe, new questions are coming to mind. With that, State Attorney General Josh has produced a new guidance document on what law allows under these special circumstances. Here's an excerpt:
"Can local governments carry out their necessary meetings via electronic means during these exigent circumstances?
"Yes, because electronic meetings are allowed under N.C.G.S. §143.318.13, and the requirements of notice, access and minutes can be met through electronic means. Due to the unprecedented circumstances we are all faced with, and the fact that local governing bodies conducting meetings remotely is not expressly prohibited by statute, I conclude that local governments can carry out necessary meetings electronically and remain in compliance with Open Meetings Laws."
Read the full document.
By NCLM Communications, March 26, 2020
By NCLM Communications, March 24, 2020
By NCLM Communications, March 23, 2020
Cyber attacks are on the rise and municipalities need to be extra vigilant in protecting municipal assets from cyber attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic, when cyber criminals will be working harder to infiltrate computer systems. If a member of the League’s property and liability insurance pool experiences a cyber intrusion or incident, time is of the essence in mitigating the extent of the event. Members should contact our cyber insurance provider, Beazley, to report the claim and to mobilize resources.To report a claim and to receive support services, please visit Beazley Breach Response Claims.Employees are the front lines of defense against cyber attacks and must be extra vigilant in conducting computer activities.
It is anticipated that cyber criminals will use the Covid-19 crisis to infiltrate systems by hosting phony websites for items such as PPE, sanitizers, and other mitigation measures. Please be aware of unsolicited emails promoting products or services. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crime website provides the following tips for preventing ransomware (primarily aimed at organizations and their employees, but some are also applicable to individual users):• Make sure employees are aware of ransomware and of their critical roles in protecting the organization’s data. (suspicious emails and links should not be accessed)• Be Careful What You Download: Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.• Patch operating system, software, and firmware on digital devices (which may be made easier through a centralized patch management system).• Ensure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and conduct regular scans.• Manage the use of privileged accounts—no users should be assigned administrative access unless absolutely needed and only use administrator accounts when necessary.• Configure access controls, including file, directory, and network share permissions appropriately. If users only need read-specific information, they don’t need write-access to those files or directories.• Disable macro scripts from office files transmitted over e-mail.• Implement software restriction policies or other controls to prevent programs from executing from common ransomware locations (e.g., temporary folders supporting popular Internet browsers, compression/decompression programs).• Back up data regularly and verify the integrity of those backups.• Secure your backups. Make sure they are not connected to the computers and networks they are backing up. Source: FBI.GOVFor More information. Please visit: FBI CYBER CRIME RESOURCES
By NCLM Communications, March 20, 2020
By NCLM Communications, March 20, 2020
Michael Leighs, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, provides us the following update on how the state is responding to community spread of COVID-19 and what we might expect:
Yesterday, we shared our first documented case of COVID-19 community spread, meaning this person didn't have contact with someone who had tested positive or traveled to highly impacted area. Confirmed community spread is a signal that we need to further accelerate the next phase of the work.
North Carolina has already been taking actions as if we already had community spread to get ahead of the virus. Governor Roy Cooper has taken aggressive actions to limit large gathers, close restaurants and bars with the goal of flattening the curve – the idea is to lessen the number of people who get sick at the same time and avoid overwhelming our hospitals and health care system.
And as we move into this next phase, we need to continue to reduce the chances for further spread and exposure and protect our health care system, so it is there when you need it.
Protecting our health care workforce and making sure they have the protective equipment they need is paramount. We are asking hospitals to stop elective surgeries. Testing for people with mild illness will also become less important as we transition to this next phase. We want to reduce the chances that people will be exposed to the virus or expose others. We will begin to deploy other surveillance methods to understand the spread of the virus and drive our decision-making.
We know this a challenging time. But it is important to remember that the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and will recover at home.
There are several resources to help you navigate these challenging times.
-NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina is now available for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus
-COVID-19 text information and updates are available. To sign up, text COVIDNC to 898211.
-Our website, ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus publishes regular updates, including new guidance that is developed, information about Executive Orders and other important information.
Thank you for all that you are doing in your communities.
By NCLM Communications, March 19, 2020
The following message comes from the State Employees Credit Union:
Effective Thursday, March 19th, State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) branches statewide will temporarily transition to drive-thru only for the majority of its services to reduce the possibilities of transmission of the coronavirus to members, their families and SECU employees. Members who need to access safe deposit boxes, drop off tax return information, or inquire about a loan should call the branch to schedule an appointment. While SECU is closing branch lobby access for branches with a drive-thru to help protect the community, SECU remains open for business to make loans, take deposits and provide other financial services to its members during this time of uncertainty.
Read the full statement for all details.
By NCLM Communications, March 18, 2020
Gov. Cooper Announces Third Executive Order of Month, Closes Bars and Restaurants
By NCLM Communications, March 17, 2020
UPDATE: March 19, 2020 | FAQ Clarifying Executive Order 118 Re: Restaurants, Outdoor Dining Areas and More
How COVID-19 Has Affected Municipal Operations in NC
By NCLM Communications, March 16, 2020
By NCLM Communications, March 13
On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency regarding the coronavirus pandemic. A few days prior, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper had declared a state of emergency over the same. Are local-level state-of-emergency declarations called for? According to the state's director of emergency management, Mike Sprayberry, they're welcomed and may help municipalities' positioning with access to resources and logistical support.
"It can give you the powers for expedited procurement, make sure there's funding coming down that may require a state-of-emergency (declaration) and gives you extra authorities and powers and take more stringent actions than ones you get from the state," Sprayberry explained to local government officials on a conference call Thursday co-organized by the League, the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.
Local emergency managers will know the procedure to request resources, "like any other disaster," Sprayberry said, noting also that the state's "Web EOC" (online Emergency Operations Center portal) has set COVID-19 as its default topic.
Governor to Public Officials: Break the Handshake
By NCLM Communications, March 12
By NCLM Communications, March 11
League Executive Director Paul Meyer attended a briefing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to align the White House with local-level leaders as COVID-19 cases continue spotting the United States and as preparation mounts to prevent community-level spread. Vice President Mike Pence addressed a gathering of National League of Cities (NLC) board members and a subset of state leagues, including the N.C. League, with emphasis on local leaders' frontline role and the vitality of intergovernmental and intersector communication. "Community efforts are the first line against the spread of this virus, which is why the League is taking this so seriously," Meyer said. "We're in constant contact with all levels of government, from your town hall to the White House, to make sure we're all on the same page in positioning our communities for the best outcomes."
While the quality of information is evolving by the hour, the League has assembled a resource page that may be helpful to cities and towns at www.nclm.org/coronavirus. The White House has advised that local communities cite its Framework for Mitigation sheet on non-pharmaceutical ways to slow the chances of infection.
NLC President Joe Buscalno, president pro tem of the Los Angeles City Council, said the after the meeting that the group was "grateful for the opportunity to put federal-local partnership in action...." He added: "There are a number of issues we can work on together to serve America's cities, towns and villages, and I look forward to productive communication and partnership in the coming weeks."
NLC has also compiled a resource list, available at nlc.org/coronavirus.