The Town of Chapel Hill has joined Orange County’s Stay at Home Declaration (see news release below). The Declaration will be in effect beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, March 27, until 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30. Access the Town of Chapel Hill Order and Frequently Asked Questions.
Find resources here on COVID-19 including Social Distancing (English | Spanish), Coronavirus Myths & Facts, News, Health Issues, Town Services, Utility Assistance, Food Needs, Helping Others, Employment Concerns, Chapel Hill Transit, and links to Public Health Agencies.
Mayor's Message: How to help neighbors and friends during coronavirus social distancing
Post Date:03/20/2020 7:20 PM
Chapel Hill Friends and Neighbors,
Just a few weeks ago, many of us had never heard the term “social distancing” before. Now, with schools cancelled and many working from home, the Town has been receiving a lot of questions about how to help one another and stay connected while also staying safe.
Over the past week, my office has received many questions including whether it is safe to buy groceries for an elderly neighbor, if it is safe to take care of a neighbor’s children and how to connect to necessary resources.
Keeping an eye on our neighbors and helping one another out will be even more important in the coming days. A first step is to establish solid channels of communication and ways for sharing information. Looking online, I’ve seen many creative solutions ranging from a red/green paper system in the window as a signal for help to a call list of people checking in on one another. Each neighborhood is different. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to reach out and work out a communication strategy that meets the need of everyone in your immediate area.
At this point, social distancing is the key to keeping our community safer and reducing the amount of time that our lives are disrupted. There will be times, however, when a neighbor needs your help. In those cases, please use common sense precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Also, please make sure that you and your neighbors are staying abreast of new information being shared by the Town and county. For additional information on the coronavirus please visit the Orange County Health Department’s webpage at COVID-19 webpage or call 919-245-6111 for up-to-date information. Spanish language and other languages are available. The Town also has posted information resources at www.townofchapelhill.org/coronavirus.
In addition to online and social media channels, the Town utilizes a network of Neighborhood Liaisons who share and exchange information between the Town and residents in Chapel Hill neighborhoods and homeowners’ associations. There is a good geographic distribution among the nearly 100 liaisons currently registered with the Town. If your neighborhood is not yet covered and you’d be willing to share Town e-mails with others, please sign up here.
Finally, please take time to fill out your census form! Having everyone counted will affect future state and federal funding for our town and, so, is vitally important. And, be on the lookout for scams and make sure that local seniors are aware of them too.
I am grateful that so many in our community are heeding the call for social distancing by staying home and making changes to daily routines. I know that these transitions have been hard. Yet I believe that through this experience, we can find opportunities for unique ways to connect as a community.
We will get through this because we are a community who cares and we will bounce back stronger than before this crisis.
The Town of Chapel Hill is working closely with local health officials to reduce the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 (coronavirus). For more information, please visit the following local, state, and national health experts.
The Town has opened a TOWN CALL CENTER at 919-969-5005 from 8:30 am–5 pm M–F to answer questions about Town services. For health-related questions, call the Orange County Health Department at 919-245-6111 (8:30 am–5 pm daily), or the NC Department of Health and Human Services (24/7) at 1-866-462-3821.
The Town has declared a State of Emergency to help Town leaders and emergency managers streamline and expedite their response.
The Town is engaging with residents to hear concerns, respond and share information through Chapel Hill eNews email updates (sign up here); social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Next Door; its Neighborhood Liaisons; and through a network of community partners including the public schools, businesses and human services agencies.
Orange County Health Department: Refer to their COVID-19 webpage or call 919-245-6111 for up-to-date information. Spanish language and other languages are available.
Clinics: The dental clinic is closed except for emergencies.The medical clinic is operating, but have screening questions in place.
Testing for COVID-19: Refer to the NC Department of Health and Human Services for guidance on testing
Hope Line for older adults: Older adults can call 1-866-578-4673 or 1-866-578-HOPE if they’re experiencing isolation from social distancing.
Disaster Distress Helpline: The CDC recommends calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Compass Center for Women and Families: The Compass Center is closed to outside visitors. The 24 hour domestic violence line is open: 919-929-7122. Their business line is open 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday: 919-968-4610.
Orange County Rape Crisis Center: Their 24 hour helpline is available: 919-967-7273 (phone) or 919-504-5211 (text). Hospital accompaniment is being provided via video chat.
Virtual AA and NA meetings:Cardinal Innovations provides links to virtual substance use recovery support meetings.
Town Services and Facilities
To limit spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Town of Chapel Hill has closed Town facilities including Town Hall, Chapel Hill Public Library, and Parks and Recreation facilities including parks.
Chapel Hill Public Library Closed
No items are due; late fees will not be charged
Parks and Recreation facilities Closed
Parks, dog parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, tennis, volley ball and pickleball courts are closed. All indoor recreation and aquatic facilities are closed.
Our greenways and cemeteries remain open. While spending more time at home, there's more time to get outside or take a walk! Use our social distancing guide as you enjoy the outdoors with others.
Chapel Hill Transit is on a reduced schedule. More info here. Chapel Hill Transit buses are being cleaned with a solution that sanitizes the inside surfaces with which you may come in contact. It is important to note that the surfaces can only stay sanitized until someone touches them. Therefore, if you need to take public transportation (including transit, taxis, or ride shares), be conscious of what you touch, and be sure to wash your hands when you exit the vehicle. Do not touch your face or eat before you’re able to wash your hands.
Anyone with critical, timely needs for transactions at Town Hall can call 919-968-2743 and ask to speak with the department with which you are working. Permit applications may be dropped off at Town Hall each Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. noon.
Payments can be made to the Town Revenue Office as follows:
Payments by credit card can be made by calling 919-968-2759 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Payments by check or money order can be made by mail to “405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 Attn: Revenue Office” or can be delivered in person to the Town’s drop box outside of Town Hall (address above).
Payments by cash (if no alternate payment method is available) can be delivered in person to the Town’s drop box outside of Town Hall between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please have exact change only.
Local law enforcement agencies will be practicing social distancing.
Law enforcement action that doesn’t necessarily require law enforcement presence: an officer will contact the person by telephone. (example: report of a stolen license plate- an officer will take that report over the phone.) If you have a question or concern, call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760.
In-person law enforcement action: Responding officers will not shake your hand or hug you; officers will stand farther away from you and other people (six feet or more is the current recommendation from health officials); officers might ask you to turn on lights or turn televisions down so they can see or hear you better from farther away.
The Town remains open for business. Some employees are staffing offices and practicing social distancing. Others are working remotely. All are working to ensure that day-to-day operations of local government continue to the extent possible.
Housing & Utilities
On March 31, Governor Cooper signed an Executive Order prohibiting utilities, including electric, gas, water, and wastewater services from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the COVID pandemic. To learn more, review the FAQs. In addition, to this order, several companies have already announced changes, including:
Duke Energy: Duke Energy will not disconnect any customer’s service for non-payment. The company will continue to read meters and send bills. Customers should pay what they can to avoid building up a large balance.
Spectrum Internet is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days (March 16 – May 15) for families with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum plan.Call 1-844-488-8395 to get set up.
Major cellphone carriers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, will keep users connected and waive late fees for 60 days. Certain carriers may also temporarily be providing additional data allowances.
Rental and Utility Assistance: Several organizations provide financial assistance to low-income households facing challenges paying rent, utilities, and other critical household expenses:
Orange County: Orange County provides emergency assistance to low-income residents of Orange County. For more information, call 919-245-2490.
Town of Chapel Hill: The Town provides assistance with security deposits and utility connection fees for low-income residents who find housing in Chapel Hill.For more information, call 919-969-5079.
NC Courts suspend evictions and foreclosure hearings for 30 days: Effective March 16, NC Chief Justice Beasley’s Order has stopped all small claims court hearings, including eviction hearings, for 30 days. No new eviction orders will be entered or issued. However, the courts do not have legal authority to stay or stop an eviction process already in progress.
Fair Housing & COVID-19: If you believe you’ve experienced Housing Discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the Orange County Human Rights and Relations Department at 919-245-2487.
If you are a UNC student and have questions or concerns about your off campus lease, the following resources are available:
If you have a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and need assistance with living expenses, including rent, you can apply to the Student Impact Fund.
If you are interested in engaging with your landlord/property management company around a negotiation of your lease terms, connect with Carolina Student Legal Services. Due to COVID-19 they are providing remote assistance. Their main number is, (919) 962-1303. In addition to remote appointments, they are also conducting "live chat" with attorneys through their website Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
For anyone in need:
The Inter-Faith Council (IFC) continues to serve hot meals daily (lunch daily, dinner Monday – Friday) and has a food pantry available. Please note that the IFC is currently offering meals to-go, rather than their normal dine-in style.
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina distributes food every Wednesday to Orange County residents, in partnership with the Chapel Hill Public Housing Office. To maintain social distancing, April dates are at locations with drive-through service. Food is provided on a first come, first served basis from 10–12:30. Locations and dates for April are:
April 1: Chapel Hill Community Center, 120 S. Estes Drive
April 8, 15, 22, 29: Hargraves Community Center, 216 N Roberson St.
For children and families:
TABLE is doing home-based delivery of bags of healthy non-perishables and fresh food to families with children in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School (CHCCS) system.
Food for Students is distributing pre-packaged, grab-and-go lunch and a snack to children, ages 0-18, to over 30 sites in the CHCCS school district. For locations and more information in multiple languages see these flyers.
Pre-packaged, grab-and-go lunch and a snack are being distributed to children, ages 0-18, to over 20 sites in the CHCCS school district. For locations and more information in multiple languages see these flyers.
PORCH is providing grocery gift cards to families in need.
Do you need help finding food for your child? Text FOODNC to 877-877. You will be asked to enter your address. You will receive a text back with the location of the closest meal sites and serving times. You can also call 2-1-1 to speak with an operator 24/7 who can help locate meal sites and other resources. ¿Necesita ayuda para encontrar alimentos para su hijo? Envíe un mensaje de texto a COMIDA al 877-877. Se le pedirá que introduzca su dirección. Recibirá un mensaje de texto con la ubicación de los sitios de comida y los horarios de servicio más cercanos. También puede llamar al 2-1-1 para hablar con un operador las 24 horas los 7 días de la semana, que le puede ayudar a localizar sitios de comidas y otros recursos
WIC is a food assistance program for pregnant mothers and children under 5. To ask questions or apply, call the Orange County Health Department at 919-245-2422 or 919-245-2447. You can also call 1-800-367-2229If you are looking for baby formula, you can contact them.
Meals on Wheels continues to deliver meals to older adults once a week. In light of COVID-19, they are delivering shelf-stable food and frozen meals in a box and limiting the number of volunteer visits to homes over the course of the week.
Orange County Senior Center Hot Lunch program distributes hot and boxed lunches during the week to qualified Orange County residents who are over 60. To enroll: e-mail email@example.com or call 919-245-4256.
Orange County Seniors Supplemental Food box program distributes a box of non-perishable groceries once a month to qualified Orange County residents who are over 60. To enroll e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-245-4243.
Local grocers have added senior specific hours to their schedule.
Whole Foods Market will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public. Store hours for Chapel Hill: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
Harris Teeter has Senior shopping hours every Monday & Thursday from 6 a.m.–7 a.m. for shoppers aged 60 and over. ExpressLane Online Shopping pick-up times reserved for seniors are 9 a.m.–2 p.m. every Thursday. Seniors will have no fee & $5 delivery option.
Food Lion is welcoming customers who are 60+ or who are immunocompromised every Monday and Wednesday from 7–8 a.m. to shop.
Fresh Market hours for seniors plus those most at risk are 8–9 a.m., Monday – Friday.
Dollar General has the first hour dedicated to Seniors. Carrboro hours are 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Target will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns. Chapel Hill Hours are 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Child Care: If you are a parent who provides necessary services to, or cares for, members of the community, and are in need of child care due to changes in your typical child care arrangements, call 1-888-600-1685 to be connected with the right fit for you and your child.
Families can pick up diapers Mondays – Thursdays from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at El Centro Hispano. Please call ahead to make sure they have supplies and to make an appointment. Address: 201 W. Weaver St. Carrboro, NC, 27510. Phone: (919) 945-0132
Families can pick up diapers once per month at Orange County DSS in Hillsborough. Address: 113 Mayo St. Hillsborough, NC, 27278. Phone: (919) 245-2800
Employment and Business Assistance
Unemployment Assistance:On March 17, Governor Cooper announced that barriers to state unemployment benefits have been removed for workers of businesses impacted by COVID-19, including:
Eliminating the one-week waiting period
Allowing individuals to receive unemployment benefits without being required toactively look for new jobs
Employees who lose their jobs and those who have reduced hours due to COVID-19 can apply for benefits
Removing the requirement that individuals must have in-person interviews prior to qualifying for benefits. This initial intake can now be done remotely, either by phone or online.
Employers will not be required to help pay for their former workers’ unemployment benefits
The Orange County Arts Commission has created an Orange County Arts Support Fund and has provided initial seed funding from money that was allocated towards upcoming, and now cancelled, events. Artists and organizations who have been impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for assistance through an online process, coming soon. Check back for updates on this effort.
RCP (Refugee Community Partnership) has a Facebook page with Facebook live updates in various language – Karen, Burmese, Arabic, and Kinyarwanda. Contact RCP if you want to be added to their WhatsApp language groups.
Supporting Local Businesses
Local Restaurants: Many restaurants remain open for takeout, delivery, and catering and are running specials and promotions.
Visit the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership website for information on downtown Chapel Hill restaurants. Free parking spaces in front of Downtown businesses are available for curbside pickup.
Carrboro United is your one-stop shop for nutritious food and a way to support local businesses and farmers. Pick up fresh produce, quality meats, and prepared meals three times a week and put money back into the local economy.
There are a variety of resources and services available in Chapel Hill to support community members impacted by COVID-19. Let us know if we missed something by emailing: email@example.com.
Donate food or money to TABLE, who is delivering bags of healthy food door-to-door to households that have children in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools.They have a Wish List of items and accept direct food and cash donations. On-line orders through Amazon can be shipped directly to their Carrboro offices at 209 E Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510.
Donate money to help PORCH purchase grocery store gift cards to the families they serve. Make an online donation or mail a check, payable to PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro, to PO Box 16363, Chapel Hill NC 27516-6363.
You can mail check or money order to Meals on Wheels, whodelivers meals to seniors once a week. Cash donations are needed. Mail to: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels, PO Box 2102, Chapel Hill NC 27515.
With seniors being asked to take extra precautions, the Orange County Department on Aging has stepped up its efforts to keep in touch with local seniors by phone. Volunteers make “reassurance phone calls” every weekday morning to seniors who sign up, and volunteers are being recruited to do it on the weekends as well. If you want to volunteer, call the department at 919-968-2070.
UNC Health is accepting donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). If you or your company have a supply of masks, hand sanitizer, or other essential medical supplies please donate them to help protect healthcare workers and patients.
The Diaper Bank of North Carolinaprovides diapers and personal hygiene products to families. Currently their greatest need is for Size 2 and Size 5 diapers, baby wipes and Ziploc bags. Donations of diapers and supplies can be dropped off at 1311 E. Club Blvd., Durham, 27704 or a cash donation can be made online.
The Refugee Support Center and Refugee Community Partnership are facing additional need as they work to help our local refugee community, many of whom are service workers likely to face extra struggles during the coronavirus outbreak. Get more information and donate online.
El Centro Hispanohas created a COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund to assist families who are being impacted. The fund will support and strengthen families at risk.
Any donations made to the Jackson Center from now until April 30 will be used directly to support their elderly and shut-in neighbors during this crisis.
Another important opportunity to help each other during this time is to check in on your loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Social distancing may mean staying farther apart from each other, but you can still use this time to build deeper connections with each other.
If anyone you know is sick, call them often and have a plan for delivering food and medicine, as well as for back up care of dependents.
Call Centers & Other Resource Databases
Orange County Hotline: Questions about COVID-19 and/or its impacts in Orange County? Call (919) 245-6111 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Spanish language and other languages available.
Town of Chapel Hill Call Center: Questions about Town of Chapel Hill services during COVID-19? Call 919-969-5005 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
¿Tiene preguntas sobre los servicios disponibles en Chapel Hill? Por favor llame al 919-969-5005, pregunte por alguien que le pueda atender en idioma español.
OC Connect is a free community resource database of 700+ services and resources offered by government and/or non-profit organizations in Orange County. OC Connect was created and is updated by the Community Empowerment Fund with support from the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.
NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. You can call 211 to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community. NC 2-1-1 if available 24/7 and in over 170 languages.
Other Helpful Information
Tax Day is now July 15: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended tax filing deadline and federal tax payments from April 15 to July 15. Additionally, the N.C. Department of Revenue will extend the tax filing deadline to July 15 to mirror the change from the IRS.
Effective March 13, all federally held loans owned by the Department of Education will have their interest waived. Interest will not accrue on federally held student loans for at least 60 days.
Orange County Health Department
The Orange County Health Department is our local source for health-related information. Click here to go directly to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) webpage.
NC Department of Health & Human Services
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is our State authority when it comes to health-related concerns. There is a Citizen Hotline available 24/7 at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, visit www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select "chat". For more information, click here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national authority for health-related concerns. Click here for a COVID-19 (coronavirus) webpage from the CDC.