This week, the Governor’s Office announced plans to move forward with Phase One of North Carolina’s reopening plan. Phase One will go into effect on Friday, March 8, 2020 at 5pm.
What does this look like for Benson? The basics of Phase One are as follows:
• The stay-at-home order will now allow travel not defined as essential such as residents leaving home for commercial activity at any business that is allowed to open — clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, houseware shops, etc.
• Ensures that any open store implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene, and cleaning protocols. Capacity of open stores will be limited to 50 percent.
• Barbershops, salons, theaters, and music venues will remain closed at this time.
• Childcare centers will be allowed to open.
• Gatherings will continue to be limited to no more than 10 people.
• Parks will reopen and will be subject to the gathering limit. Outdoor exercise is encouraged. PLEASE NOTE: even though parks and walking trails will be open, playgrounds in these locations will remain off limits. Gyms will remain closed at this time as well.
• Restaurants and bars will continue to provide only takeout and delivery at this time.
• Face coverings in public spaces are still encouraged.
• Working from home, if possible, is still encouraged.
• Rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregate care facilities will continue.
Benson Town Hall and all Town facilities will remain closed to the public for the duration of Phase One. Residents with town-related questions can still call (919) 894-3553 as phones will be manned during normal business hours.
Residents needing to pay utility bills can use Town Hall’s night dropbox at any point in the day, pay bills online https://ipn.paymentus.com/cp/tbup, or call and pay over the phone (previous restrictions on phone call payments have been temporarily lifted).
In addition, all electric and water cutoffs continue to be suspended at this time.The Benson Police Department’s main lobby entrance will also remain locked during this time. To gain immediate access to an officer on site, people can use the yellow call-box at the front door to the Police Department. As always, for all life-threatening emergencies — dial 911. For non-emergencies, the BPD can be reached at (919) 894-2091.
The Benson Parks and Recreation building, the Benson Museum of Local History, and the Mary Duncan Public Library will remain closed to the public. However, Benson’s outdoor parks and walking trails will be open to the public while being subject to gathering limits and social distancing measures.
PLEASE NOTE: even though local parks and walking trails will be open, all playgrounds in these locations will remain closed and off limits to adhere to the gathering limit and social distancing guidelines. Playgrounds are slated to reopen during Phase Two of the State’s plan.