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Haywood County’s ‘Stay home – stay safe’ order, explained

Haywood commissioners approved restrictions on movement on March 26. Haywood commissioners approved restrictions on movement on March 26. Cory Vaillancourt

On the morning of March 26, the Haywood County Board of Commissioners became the latest public body in North Carolina to issue restrictions on movement in an effort to halt the spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The order – actually a joint proclamation including the Haywood County towns of Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley and Waynesville – is quite thorough and weighs in at 16 pages, but of course there are still specific questions about who can do what, and when.

To make compliance easier, Haywood County issued yesterday afternoon an 8-page guide designed to provide quick, easy answers and to clarify some issues within the orginal 16-page order.

Here’s the full text of the 8-page “FAQ” document:


As of March 26, at 4:15 p.m.

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This afternoon the Haywood County Commissioners adopted an amended Joint Emergency Proclamation generally referred to as a “Stay-Home Proclamation.”

This is interpretive guidance, intended to help residents understand the Proclamation.

Haywood County residents can:

  • Go to the grocery and convenience store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and healthcare necessities
  • Visit a health care facility for medical services that cannot be provided electronically (phone or on-line) (call first!)
  • Go to a restaurant, for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru service only
  • Care for or support a friend, family member, or pet
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog (as long as social distancing measures are maintained)
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian
  • Help others to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business that delivers

Haywood County residents should NOT:

  • Go out at all if they are sick
  • Go to work, unless providing Essential Services as defined by this order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no specific, urgent need
  • Be closer than 6 feet from others if out in public
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skill nursing facilities, or other residential care facilities, except for limited exceptions as provided by the specific facility
  • Travel, except for Essential Travel and activities.

Essential Activities:

In general, activities that fall under these categories are Essential Activities:

  • For health and safety
  • To get necessary supplies and services
  • For outdoor activities (walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, using greenways)
  • For work for essential businesses/operations
  • To take care of others

(Further details can be found in the Supplemental Declaration itself, which is at

I live outside of Haywood County. How does this affect me?

If you work in Haywood County, then your business/employer must comply with this proclamation. You are allowed to travel through Haywood County and conduct Essential Activities within Haywood County and to return home.

I work outside of Haywood County. How does this affect me?

You can travel to work outside Haywood County - that is not affected by the Proclamation. Returning to Haywood County after leaving the county for work purposes is specifically authorized by the Proclamation.

What is considered Essential Travel?

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations, Health Care and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, or Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from education institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel

Am I allowed to travel?

You are allowed to travel for purposes of essential business and essential activities

Do I need a letter or document that authorizes me to travel for Essential Travel?

No. You do not need any such document. The county is not issuing any document authorizing Essential Travel.

Do I need a document from the county that identifies my business as “Essential”?

No. The county is not issuing any document to classify a business as “Essential” or otherwise. 

Is there a curfew associated with this Proclamation?


Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

Yes – but maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all others.

I live in Canton, Clyde, Waynesville or Maggie Valley does this order apply to me?

Yes – this order applies to all residents within Haywood County.

How does the local order affect people who work outside of Haywood County?

Haywood County does not have the authority to regulate employment activities outside of Haywood County. While we encourage everyone to stay home and stay safe, residents of Haywood County who are employed outside the county may travel to work regardless of the nature of their occupation.

Guidance on Essential Businesses and Operations services under the supplemental declaration is as follows:

Essential Businesses or entities, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to these restrictions. For purposes of the supplemental declaration, "Essential Business" means:

  1. Essential Health Care Operations, Including:
  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health facilities
  • emergency veterinary and livestock services
  • elder care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health care workers or aides for the elderly
  • doctor and emergency dental
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
  • blood drive and blood collection sites
  1. Essential Infrastructure, Including:
  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and wastewater
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • transportation infrastructure such as roads, bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
  • hotels, and places of accommodation, when used for Essential Activities. Any employees who work for a business or organization deemed essential can stay in any lodging.
  1. Essential Manufacturing, Including:
  • food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • household paper products
  1. Essential Retail, Including:
  • grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • farmer's markets
  • gas stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building material stores
  • pawn shops
  1. Essential Services, Including:
  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats, laundry services
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters
  • legal, accounting, insurance services
  1. News Media
  1. Financial Institutions, Including:
  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  • notary public
  • services related to financial markets
  1. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:
  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • food banks
  • human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
  1. Construction, Including:
  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure, to include public works, roads and bridges, or for emergency repair and safety purposes
  1. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, Including:
  • law enforcement
  • fire prevention and response
  • building code enforcement
  • security
  • emergency management and response
  • building cleaners or janitors
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • automotive repair
  • disinfection
  • lawn maintenance and tree trimming
  1. Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
  • logistics
  • technology support for online services
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services

How will the proclamation be enforced?

We understand it may take a while for residents and business owners to become fully familiar with the new proclamation. During that time, law enforcement officials will be working with county officials to answer questions and direct inquiries to official sources of information, such as the county’s website, or the COVID-19 call center (828) 356-2019.

We understand this is an extremely difficult time for our citizens and we are working together as a community to get through this. The measures being taken are to further efforts to protect those who are at high risk and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Law enforcement agencies in Haywood County are not seeking to punish citizens who are simply trying to adjust to drastic changes in their lives. County and municipal officials are dedicated to educating individuals in every way possible on the intent behind these changes. Again, law enforcement agencies throughout Haywood County want to work with citizens as we go through this process by using education, warning and advisement as much as possible.

There are high hopes that citizens will voluntarily comply with measures, demonstrating a common goal of flattening the curve and moving forward. If persistent, non-compliant actions are observed or reported, law enforcement will need to address the issue as outlined in the proclamation.

A violation of a duly adopted proclamation of emergency is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in jail or a $1,000 fine. N.C.G.S. Section 166A-19.31(h).

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