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Granite Falls Declares a State of Emergency due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

GRANITE FALLS, NC (March 18 2020) — The Town is currently operating under a State of Emergency due to COVID-19. The State of Emergency declaration is required to be eligible for FEMA or SEMA disaster reimbursements and allows Town staff to respond quicker to the constant changes that are occurring. Thankfully, as of 4:30 pm today, Caldwell County did not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The top priority of the Town of Granite Falls is and always will be the safety and security of the community. As such, Town officials are taking the recent developments concerning COVID-19 into consideration as we make decisions on how to practice effective social distancing while maintaining essential Town services. Here are some of the administrative and service delivery changes that have already been implemented:

-The Town Office will be limited to a drive-thru only operation until further notice. Please note, we allow walk up traffic at our drive-thru window. We will extend drive-thru window hours as necessary. All payment transactions can be accomplished by using the drive-thru window or the night drop box at the drive-thru, US mail, automatic bank drafts, on-line payments, or by telephone (844) 579-2880. If you need to sign up for new utility services, need any type of permits, or need to conduct any other type of business at the Town Office, please call (828) 396-3131 before coming to the Town Office. If you have any issues with existing Town utility services, please continue to call the Town Office at (828) 396-3131 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have any issues with existing Town utility services before or after normal business hours or on weekends, please continue to call the Police Department at (828) 396-3358. Do not call 911 to report any issues with Town utility services.

-The Town of Granite Falls will not be disconnecting utility services for non-payment the month of March and will not assess late payment fees that are normally charged when utilities are disconnected. Town staff will revisit this situation each month going forward. Utility customers with past due balances need to remember that the Town is not forgiving past due balances, late payment fees, or penalties that were incurred before March 18th. Citizens with past due balances are encouraged to pay what they can, when they can, to keep their past due balance from increasing. Penalties will not be applied to any utility accounts until March 31st.

-Public entrances to the Police Station are closed until further notice. Always call 911 to report an emergency. Please call the Police Department at (828) 396-3358 for information on how to access police reports, accident reports, etc. Most of these reports can be sent electronically. If you do not have access to electronic delivery of records, please call the Police Department in advance at (828) 396-3358, and they will arrange a time for you to pick these up in person.

-Public entrances to the Fire Station are closed until further notice. Always call 911 to report an emergency. Please call the Fire Department at (828) 396-2379 if you need any type of information or services from Fire Department Personnel. Child safety seat installations will only be done in emergency situations. Any other reports or information requested from the Fire Department will be sent electronically if at all possible. If you do not have access to electronic delivery of records, please call the Fire Department in advance at (828) 396-2379 and they will arrange a time for you to pick these up in person.

-Public entrances to the Public Works Department, the Electric Department, and the Wastewater and Water Treatment facilities are closed until further notice. The Town of Granite Falls Public Works Department is currently providing all standard services including brush collection and normally scheduled garbage, recycling, and refuse collection. We ask for patience with collection services due to the increased number of citizens at home during this time which will likely result in an increased amount of household waste. The Electric Department and the Wastewater and Water Treatment facilities are all operating as scheduled to continue providing these services safely to your homes and places of business. We want to remind citizens to NEVER flush wipes (even if the package states that the wipes are flushable), paper towels, linen, washcloths, hygiene products, or anything other than toilet paper. These items can cause preventable backup in residents’ services and can create issues with the Town’s wastewater collection system and treatment facility.

-The Town Recreation Center building is closed to the public. The outdoor restrooms at the Recreation Center and Lakeside Park are also closed. The walking track, tennis courts, and playgrounds at the Recreation Center are still open. Outdoor activities are still available at Lakeside Park and Neighborhood Park.

-Any further changes to Town services or operating conditions will be communicated via the Town’s website and on Facebook pages for Granite Falls Police Department, North Carolina and Granite Falls Parks & Recreation Department. Another great way to stay connected is to sign up for Town updates by phone calls (home and/or cell), texts, or emails through the CodeRed citizen notification system. If you aren’t signed up for CodeRed, please contact the Town Office at (828) 396-3131 or sign up online.

Please remember, if you see any Town employees out and about and they do not approach you as they would normally do, these Town employees are practicing social distancing in an effort to maintain public health and safety in our community. Our goal is to keep Town employees healthy to respond to true emergencies in the community and to maintain the level of services our citizens expect and deserve.

Thanks for your patience during this difficult time.