Stay-at-home order in effect, City modifies operations
A stay-at-home order issued Friday by Gov. Roy Cooper takes effect, Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m., and will last for the next 30 days. This order was issued to slow the spread of COVID-19, and applies to all municipalities in North Carolina, including the City of Morganton.
Residents can still go to grocery and convenience stores, seek medicines or medical care, order take-out from restaurants, bike, hike and jog, care for loved ones in other households and tend to the needs of pets, but please do not go out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.
The order requires that anyone traveling for an essential purpose maintain six feet of distance from other people when in public, and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
The executive order details which businesses and operations, as well as which types of travel, are considered essential. Employees of essential businesses will be allowed to continue to report to work for the duration of the stay-at-home order. A violation of the order is punishable as a class 2 misdemeanor. You can read the full executive order and list of essential businesses here: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3.pdf.
“The most important things for citizens of Morganton to do now is stay home, do not go out in public unless you absolutely have to, and keep your distance from other people until this order is lifted,” said Mayor Ronnie Thompson. “If you or a member of your family is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, you should not go out in public under any circumstances.”
Some City of Morganton employees continue to report to work to provide necessary City services, but additional changes have been made. Operations and projects are being evaluated to determine what functions will be ceased, reduced, or re-prioritized.
In an effort to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, our employees are sheltering at home as much as possible, and practicing social distancing when reporting to work. Staffing levels and work schedules have been modified to minimize the number of people in City facilities and to encourage City employees to adhere to the order. Departments are placing employees on rotating schedules to decrease contact between employees and reduce the chances of spreading the virus. Additional emergency paid time off has been granted to all full time and permanent part time employees to help maintain earnings during the operational slowdown.
Citizens can rest assured they will still receive all essential City services. The City’s Utilities, Streets, Public Safety, and Sanitation departments all continue to operate as normal.
“We understand the inconvenience placed on citizens by this order, but we cannot stress its importance enough,” Thompson said. “We must all follow the rules created by the stay-at-home order in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The more we all follow the order, the more likely it is we can get back to our normal routines sooner rather than later.”
We know the onset of COVID-19 brings a great deal of uncertainty with it, and creates many changes in our daily lives. The City is doing everything we can to ease the burden on our citizens and businesses, and to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Staff continue to work hard to carry out City business and deliver the same high quality services our citizens are accustomed to in this trying time. Together, we can get through this.
We ask everyone to keep our healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential employees on the front line of this crisis in their thoughts.
City declares State of Emergency, closes facilities to the public
In response to the recent declarations by Gov. Roy Cooper and the Federal government, and to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the City of Morganton has officially declared a state of emergency, effective, March 20, at 8 a.m. You can read the full text of the declaration here:
The declaration allows City Manager Sally Sandy to take proactive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including altering how City services are delivered to residents.
Morganton City Hall will be closed to the public beginning at 5 p.m. today, March 20, 2020. City Hall will remain closed to the public until further notice. All City facilities will be closed to the public until further notice.
While City Hall is closed to the public, employees will still be working in City Hall. All business conducted with the City of Morganton shall be conducted via telephone, email, fax, or other virtual means to the greatest extent possible. City Hall will operate by appointment only during normal business hours for critical business that cannot be done online or over the phone.
The City of Morganton joins sister communities in the foothills and UniFour area in declaring the state of emergency.
- Citizens can make utility payments online at morgantonnc.gov. Payments can be made at our drop boxes located at the front entrance and back parking lot of City Hall, or by using our drive-thru. We will be accepting all forms of payment in our drive-thru. Credit card payments will be accepted over the phone while City Hall is closed to the public. Please do not put cash in the drop boxes.
- Residents can apply for water and sewer service by calling 828-438-5245 or by visiting morgantonnc.gov/index.php/government/finance/utilities
- Contractors should apply for building permits by calling 828-438-5266.
- Citizens should contact COMPAS at 828-438-5353 to connect new cable, internet and telephone service, or for technical assistance and service with cable, internet and telephone.
- Human Resources will be closed to walk-ins for job applications. View our job applications and apply online by visiting morgantonnc.gov/jobs.
- Emergencies – 911
- City Hall – 828-437-8863
- CoMMA – 828-433-SHOW
- COMPAS (Cable, Internet, Telephone) – 828-438-5353
- Electric Services (Power Outages) – 828-438-5277
- Inspections & Building Permits – 828-438-5266
- Main Street Office – 828-438-5252
- Morganton Community House – 828-438-5364
- New Electric, Water, Sewer Service Connection – 828-438-5245
- Public Works – 828-438-5248
- Parks & Recreation – 828-438-5350
- Public Safety (Non-Emergency) – 828-437-1211
- City Tax Office – 828-438-5242
- Utility/COMPAS Payments – 828-438-5245
- Water Resources (Water or Sewer shut-offs) – 828-437-5276
Citizens can reach the Burke County Health Department COVID-19 hotline by calling 828-764-9388. The North Carolina Statewide COVID-19 hotline can be reached by calling 1-866-462-3821.
The City of Morganton has suspended late fees and disconnection of utility services for nonpayment of bills until April 30. Citizens should still pay their bills as normal if they are able, as debts and outstanding charges are not being forgiven.
CoMMA has canceled the remainder of its 34th season. All scheduled events and meetings at the Morganton Community House have been canceled until further notice.
The City’s Utilities, Streets, Public Safety, and Sanitation departments all continue to operate as normal.
The City still plans to hold the Morganton City Council meeting on April 6. Whether the meeting will be held in-person or via an online stream will be determined closer to the date of the meeting.
As this situation is fluid, please check back for updates on the City’s Facebook page, Twitter page and website.